Healthcare Employers Turn to Wellness Programs to Suppress Rising Costs

Kansas City, Kan.— In 2012, roughly two-thirds of healthcare employers experienced increases to their medical insurance premiums, according to the 2012 Compensation Data Healthcare survey results. The average increase reported by these organizations was 8 percent, down from 9.5 percent reported in 2011 and 9.4 percent in 2010. Despite the drop in the average premium increase, healthcare organizations still contribute 9.5 percent of their total payroll costs toward providing medical insurance to their employees. Employers everywhere are looking for ways to curtail rising healthcare costs and as a result, many are turning to wellness programs.

For years, wellness programs have consisted of traditional options such as weight management, tobacco cessation programs or offering flu shots and immunizations. But over the last few years, some wellness options have shown a more accelerated rate of use. Biometric screenings, which measure an individual’s blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), cholesterol and blood glucose in an effort to identify risk factors, are a good example of this trend. In 2009, biometric screenings were offered at only 16.9 percent of healthcare organizations surveyed, compared to 36.1 percent in 2012. Physical fitness facility access, onsite health clinics and offering rewards and incentives have also increased over the last few years.

“The upshot of a well-executed wellness program does not lie just with reduced medical costs,” said Amy Kaminski, director of marketing for Compdata Surveys. “Many employers are experiencing a positive impact on their bottom line as a result of greater employee productivity and reduced absenteeism.”

Other methods used by healthcare employers to reduce and contain costs include using a network of healthcare professionals at 79.7 percent, increasing the employee portion of the premium at 65.3 percent and offering disease management at 62.8 percent. Nine percent of healthcare organizations report a surcharge for enrolling an employee’s spouse on their medical plan, if the employee’s spouse is eligible for benefits under their employer’s own plan.

About the Survey
Compensation Data 2012 Healthcare provides a comprehensive summary of pay data, benefits information and pay practices with an effective date of January 1, 2012. More than 250 industry-specific job titles and 400 benchmark titles were surveyed ranging from entry-level to top executives, with data collected from more than 8,100 healthcare providers across the country.

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