Wellness Programs Save Cost

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WELLNESS PROGRAMS SLOWED THE GROWTH OF HEALTH CARE COSTS

Managing the cost of healthcare and retirement has been a main focus of HR professionals for quite some time. Preventive health and wellness benefits are designed to help maintain or change employees’ behavior in order to achieve better health and decrease health risks. By preventing or lessening the incidence of adverse health conditions, employers hope to save on long-term health costs. (Miller, 10) According to a study published in the March/April 2011edition of the American Journal of Health Promotion, when employers consistently offered a wellness program to their employees, findings of health care costs rose at a 15 percent slower rate among wellness program participants than a comparison group. The study, which focused on Highmark employer wellness group wellness programs, showed a savings of $332 per participant. This indicates that substantial savings may result for group customers once a worksite wellness program is established. Highmark is a health benefits provider which serves 4.7 million members in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and is one of the largest Blue Cross/Blue Shield independent licensees in the U.S. The results prove that keeping employees healthy is not only good for the business, but also for a company’s bottom line. The study also indicates that even small interventions, like online programs, can help have an impact on healthcare costs for those that participate. Highmark’s study evaluated the impact of, not only worksite wellness programs, but also smaller interventions, such as on-line programs, for 3 or more years. Participants of the wellness program were more likely to pursue preventive services, such as physicals, mammograms and cancer screenings, than their comparison group counterparts. Short-term, preventive care measures may cost employers more,…...

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