February 14, 2012
Why a Worksite Wellness Program?
Worksite wellness programs are becoming more of the norm these days. According to The American Institute for Preventive Medicine, about 62 percent of all companies offer a wellness program – especially medium to large companies.
So what’s the purpose of a worksite wellness program? While some may feel it’s their company trying to tell them how to live their life, companies with worksite wellness programs recognize employees are their most valuable asset. Worksite wellness plans are designed to improve their employees’ quality of life, increase their life expectancy, and allow them to come home to their family and friends at the end of each day safe, healthy, and full of energy. Being healthier allows employees to complete their job efficiently and be more productive throughout the day. According to Wellness in the Workplace, approximately 40 percent of all deaths in the United States are premature and due to unhealthy lifestyle choices.
One of the most important tools Faith Technologies uses in its worksite wellness program is an annual Health Risk Assessment (HRAs). Faith Technologies has conducted voluntary HRAs annually since 2004 by bringing many of the features of an annual physical to the employee at work. For the past six years, Faith Technologies has also offered an additional healthcare premium contribution if the employee and their spouse (if on the insurance) participated in the HRA. The results are given to us as a general report about the overall health of our workforce, and are used to help us develop strategies to address the most severe problems. There is currently an obesity epidemic in our country that only seems to be getting worse, and if someone is obese, chances are they have other problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or back and knee problems. If we can prevent someone from becoming overweight or obese, or move them into a healthier direction, we are eliminating the possibility of other issues that go along with it.
Worksite wellness programs also aim to lower healthcare costs. The Department of Health and Human Services states that a 10 percent weight loss will reduce an overweight person’s lifetime medical costs by between $2,200 and $5,300 by lowering costs associated with hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and high cholesterol. At Faith Technologies, the average cost per member not treated for a chronic disease (e.g. obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, asthma, diabetes) in 2011 was $2,186 (*norm was $2,269). However, the average cost per member that is treated for a chronic disease was $5,517 (*norm was $6,963).
Employee health is at the forefront as wellness initiatives are integrated throughout the company. The hope is that employees will take their health seriously and are able to live their lives to the fullest, while knowing their employer cares about them!
*Norm: Norm is based on the aggregate experience of the Health Plan Intelligence client base during the same approximate period. Norm cost has been adjusted to reflect the same membership composition as our plan. (Source: HPI-Dashboard Powered by Health Plan Intelligence)