Yes, today is already the beginning of February. Groundhog Day to be exact. How many of us feel like the popular movie? We find ourselves waking up to the same failed New Year’s Resolutions. I blew my diet today with all the stress eating I did because of things going on at work. Thinking about it now, it really wasn’t anything we do not deal with all year. It just really got to me today.
We all face these types of things no matter what type of work we do. Unfortunately, it is much easier to fall off the resolution wagon than it is to get back on. But I will work hard to climb back up to that driver’s seat and lead the wagon train.
One way I will be able to do it is because our company hosts a Wellness Program, as do many of our clients. Wellness Programs are a wonderful way for employers to engage their employees in healthy lifestyles. They promote physical activity, healthy diet, and regular health assessments. These programs are known to help employees discover and manage personal health issues. They encourage employees to develop healthier habits, and improve overall personal health. The ROI for the employer comes in lower claim costs for “lifestyle diseases” such as high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, and other manageable conditions.
However, recently Wellness Programs are coming up against government regulation. Along with medical privacy, Wellness Administrators must be cautious about how they present the participation in the program. It may not be mandatory and it may not provide incentives that affect the premiums employees pay for medical benefits. Employers must be sure to treat all employees equally. They may not base incentives on condition of particular health assessment outcomes.
In 2018, we expect to see more discussion about employer sponsored Wellness Programs. We will watch to see how employers can leverage them to improve their health and welfare benefits costs. Remember though, everything you do to promote your employees’ good health habits like providing healthy food choices in your vending machines, allowing employees time to move around and have physical activities, and being supportive and encouraging employees to have regular health evaluations can help your benefits plan be healthier, too.