Survey: Wellness Incentives Spending Expected to Rise

May 20, 2014

Controlling costs is a priority for all businesses, regardless of sector. This can include reducing the number of workers compensation insurance claims by promoting a safer workplace, to instituting an effective risk management plan to identify and mitigate threats throughout a company. 

According to a recent survey, more employers plan to invest heavily in corporate wellness incentives as a means of saving money in other areas. These types of programs can have numerous benefits for everyone involved, and there is more behind them than just a trip to the gym.

Spending in 2014 could grow
Only five years ago, employers spent on average $260 per employee on wellness-based incentives, as reported by the Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health survey. Today, that number has ballooned to an average of $594 per employee, with more companies focusing on this specific aspect to improve worker health and safety. 

The survey noted that the biggest increase in spending belonged to firms with fewer than 5,000 employees, with the average reaching $595 per staff member. For all companies, the figure is predicted to increase 15 percent from 2013 to 2014. 

"While the use and measurement of corporate wellness programs continue to evolve, it has become clear that many employers understand the value of - and are committed to - wellness-based incentives in their company health plan," said Robert Kennedy, Health & Welfare practice leader with Fidelity's Benefits Consulting business.

Employers have numerous options
When it comes to reducing the amount of workers comp insurance claims, trips to the doctor and other hazardous conditions, employers have plenty of choices for where to invest within the company. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, there are pros and cons to all strategies. For starters, there are educational and awareness incentives. Workers can complete questionnaires or partake in a personal health screening. A relatively small monetary reward, such as $100, has been shown to encourage peak participation. However, simply telling people how they are at risk may not lead them to act. 

In addition, there are also action-based incentives, the media outlet noted. These often include a larger cash bonus, but employees first have to take positive steps to improve their health, from going to the gym, entering a weight-management program or having a preventative screening completed. The downside here is that some people may not continue their steps once the minimum benchmarks have been met.

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