Companies Look to Wellness Programs to Control Medical Insurance Costs

September 29, 2011

For more information, contact:
Michelle Willis
(800) 300-9570

Companies Look to Wellness Programs to Control Medical Insurance Costs

Kansas City, Kan.— As the cost of providing medical insurance to employees seems to continue to spiral upward without any signs of slowing, companies are frantically looking for proactive measures to control some of the expense. Wellness programs are a big part of this strategy as the newly released Benefits USA 2011/2012 survey results found of the companies offering wellness programs, 48.2 percent of employees at these organizations are enrolled in them.

Wellness options differ as 91.5 percent of employers offer flu shots or immunizations to employees. Nearly 60 percent offer health risk assessments, while 58.8 percent make tobacco cessation programs available to employees. Biometric screening is quickly gaining popularity among employers. In 2011, 31.2 percent of employers offered biometric screening to employees, compared to just 17.6 percent in 2009.

“When it comes to offering medical insurance to employees, companies are walking a very thin line between offering adequate coverage and offering coverage they can actually afford,” said Amy Kaminski, director of marketing for Compdata Surveys, the nation’s leading pay and benefits survey data provider. “Offering wellness programs may help alleviate some of the burden by assisting employees in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, as well as through early detection and treatment of risk factors that could produce serious and expensive health issues for the employee down the road.”

Wellness offerings vary among industries as 57.4 percent of insurance organizations offer rewards and incentives for participating in wellness programs. Forty-six percent of banking and finance companies utilize them, while manufacturing and distribution employers report using them at a rate of 42.5 percent. Rewards and incentives are offered in healthcare at a rate of 41.7 percent.

Differences are also seen in the wellness rewards offered as gift cards are used by 42.7 percent of organizations. More than 34 percent of companies use health and fitness products, while 31.9 percent employ insurance discounts or penalties for risk factors. Twenty-six percent of companies use HSA/HRA contributions to reward employees for taking part in wellness programs, compared to 24.3 percent who use medical premium contributions.

About the Survey
Benefits USA 2011/2012 analyzes national and regional data on benefits eligibility and administration policies with detailed information on benefit plans, premiums and provisions. Information was collected from nearly 4,500 benefit plans covering over six million employees across the country.

Compdata Surveys is the nation’s leading compensation and benefits survey data provider. Thousands of U.S. organizations provide data each year ensuring the reliability of our results. Compdata Surveys has been providing comprehensive data at affordable prices to organizations from coast to coast since 1988. For further information about their compensation and benefits surveys, contact Michelle Willis at (800) 300-9570.