Your Monthly Check-Up: An Increase in Health Insurance Costs Could Mean an Increase in Employee Wellness Programs

According to a new survey by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), the costs of employer-provided health care is anticipated to go up 7 percent in 2013, prompting employers to consider different cost-control measures, including upping rewards for employees who commit to healthy lifestyles.

The NBGH surveyed 342 businesses with regard to their views on providing health care coverage to their employees and found that an increasing number of employees are in favor of wellness programs in the workplace, which could bode well for decreasing employers’ insurance costs over time if implemented successfully.

A full 19 percent of the employers surveyed consider wellness programs that incentivize employees to improve their overall health to be a strong cost-control option, as reported by Employee Benefit News. While 48 percent use incentives to encourage participation in general, some incentivize based on specific outcomes, such as smoking cessation and curbing BMI or cholesterol levels.

What’s more, the survey found that employers plan to drastically increase the incentive amount for participating in a wellness program or committing to a healthy lifestyle. The benefit to the employee is twofold – good health and great incentives for maintaining it – while employers get the reduction in insurance costs that will allow them to spend the money saved to improve other areas of the business.

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