Benefits and Compensation

Wellness: The Other Big Trend in Health Plans

More and more companies are finding that the way to cut their health insurance costs is to develop wellness plans to keep employees from getting sick in the first place. A new BLR book and audio conference will inform you about these programs … or help you set one up.

Yesterday’s Advisor informed you of a new trend in employee medical plans … mini-meds. When your company can’t afford a traditional program, these limited benefit plans at least provide some coverage, without costing you, no pun intended, an arm and a leg.

But there’s a potentially even better way to help your employees’ health. And it’s the other big current trend in health benefits. This new idea cuts healthcare costs because employees simply don’t get sick as often. And that helps your absentee rate as well as maintaining a happier, better-feeling workforce.

What trend is it? In a word, wellness. Companies as big as Toyota and IBM are jumping on it, as have those as small as, well, BLR. If you want proof, join the daily exercise walks around our Connecticut headquarters.

The first step in starting a wellness program is getting the info you need. It’s in BLR’s new book, Workplace Wellness: Healthy Employees, Healthy Families, Healthy ROI. Examine it at no cost or risk. Click for details.

If the health benefits are great, the long-term economic benefits are spectacular. According to the American Journal of Health Promotion, you can easily expect a 3 to 1 payback on every dollar you spend on wellness. The Journal studied the plans of 200 companies and set average 3- to 6-year return on investment on those plans at 348 percent.

Even in the shorter term, wellness returns benefits. According to Provant Health Solutions, you’ll see improved absenteeism in the first 6 to 18 months of plan operation, plus a decrease in presenteeism … workers on the job when they shouldn’t be because of health issues, making mistakes and spoiling productivity. Wellness plans can also result in improved retention and a more effective recruiting package.

How difficult are such plans to implement? For this answer, we turn to a brand new BLR Guide titled Workplace Wellness: Healthy Employees, Healthy Families, Healthy ROI. These are the steps the book lays out in creating and operating a plan at your workplace.

–Create a Wellness Champion Among Senior Management. Likely not difficult, once you explain the human and economic payback and the fact that health insurance costs have jumped 8 percent to 14 percent yearly. We’ll give you a template to use in doing so. Once you find a “wellness champion,” advises Workplace Wellness, involve him or her in all the steps that follow.

–Assess the Current Level of Wellness at Your Workplace. Do this through surveys and checklists that inquire what specific health concerns exist for your industry and operation. The book provides the forms to do it.

–Create a Customized Operating Plan. This should include writing a mission statement, setting goals and timelines, and assigning responsibility. (The book follows the SMART method … creating a plan that’s Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timed.) The book will also help you consider whether to outsource fitness and training resources, and how your plan interfaces with the Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and other laws.

–Launch Your Program. Use creativity, says Workplace Wellness, with such measures as running a contest to name the program and coming up with appropriate rewards. The book also suggests (and gives detailed direction on how to run) a health fair.

Have your personal questions about wellness programs answered in our October 3 audio conference on the subject. Preorder the CD if you can’t attend. Click for details.

–Communicate, Educate, Motivate, Empower. Build wellness into your company’s operations and culture, suggests the book. One example: Establish a regular wellness announcement time at department meetings. Motivate with incentives, and empower by letting the workers run the program as much as possible.

–Measure, Assess, and Adjust. There are numerous metrics to show how well your program is working, from improvements in absentee rates and health insurance premiums to changes in weight and cholesterol. The book provides a full set of assessment tools.

If you’d like to examine Workplace Wellness: Healthy Employees, Healthy Families, Healthy ROI, on a no-cost, no-obligation basis, for 30 days, we’ve arranged for you to do so. Click below and we’ll be happy to set it up.

And if you’d like to learn even more about wellness programs, and have your specific emailed or phoned-in questions answered by a top expert, attend our October 3, 90-minute wellness programs audio conference (or pre-order the CD if you’re busy that day). Click the appropriate link and we’ll set that up too.

Improve Your Company’s Health … and Its Bottom Line!
Studies show you can do both with a well-planned wellness program. Now BLR has a brand new complete guide to help you easily set one up, and achieve both a healthier workforce and an ROI that could exceed 300 percent! Try it for 30 days! Learn more. And to get the details on our October 3 wellness programs audio conference, click here.