Employer Investments in Wellness Programs has Doubled Since 2009


With continual increases in insurance premiums and health care costs and an emphasis on preventive care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many American employers are implementing results-oriented wellness programs as a way to lower medical costs.

According to a survey conducted by the National Business Group on Health, larger employers are spending on average $521 per employee on wellness incentives, which is double the amount spent in 2009. Employers also are focusing on wellness programs that require employees to assume greater responsibility for their health care choices. Wellness programs typically fall into four categories:

  1. Lifestyle-management services, such as weight loss, healthy eating or exercise programs
  2. Health-risk management services, including onsite flu shots or smoking-cessation programs
  3. Condition-management services, such as managing insulin, cholesterol and blood pressure levels
  4. Environmental enhancements, including adding on-site exercise equipment or developing nearby walking or biking paths

The report also outlined a growth in employers’ use of incentive programs to encourage employees in adopting and pursuing wellness goals. The top three most popular incentives are:

  • Reductions in health insurance premiums (61 percent)
  • Cash or gift cards (55 percent)
  • Contributions to health savings accounts (27 percent)

At least 54 percent of employers surveyed plan to expand wellness programs to include spouses or dependents of employees, and roughly half are including family members in communications about wellness programs.

To learn more about preventive health programs within the ACA, read this ameritasinsight blog.

And for more information about wellness trends and incentive programs offered by businesses, review these articles:

Trends in the Marketplace: Wellness Incentives Doubling

Do Wellness Incentive Plans Really Reduce Costs?

Healthy living: Economic necessity and business opportunity