Employers Must Offer More Incentives For Worker Wellness Programs

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Employers that offer wellness programs to employees need to provide workers with more incentives to participate, according to benefits experts, the AP/Kansas City Star reports. According to experts, despite the current economic downturn, more employers next year likely will offer wellness programs in an effort to reduce their health care costs.

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Annual surveys of Fortune 500 companies conducted by Towers Perrin have found interest in wellness programs among employers has doubled over the past five years. In addition, Aon Consulting predicts that the percentage of employers that offer health risk assessment programs will increase from 48% this year to 66% next year. Experts said that employers need to provide strong incentives, such as cash or discounts on health insurance premiums to maintain and increase participation in wellness programs.

Employers that in 2002 or 2003 offered $100 in cash to employees who participated in health risk assessment programs could expect participation from about 75% of workers, but by 2006 that rate decreased to about 50%, StayWell Health Management research director Jessica Grossmeier said (Murphy, AP/Kansas City Star, 10/28).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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