More Reasons for Wellness in the Workplace

These findings illustrate how providing exercise facilities at the workplace is in business’ self-interest. Well: Less Active at Work, Americans Have Packed on Pounds. Click here for the actual study.

Have you ever looked at the black and white pictures of Americans (waiting in line, working, at a baseball game … whatever) before 1965 with an eye to body size? Everybody was relatively thin!

The potential of workplace wellness programs was brought home this week when I met a CPA from a fully insured company with 75 employees at a dining establishment in Washington, DC. His insurer had just raised his group health insurance premiums 50%.

He was concerned that his low-paid workers are having a difficult time paying their portion of the ever-rising insurance premium. But the problem seemed inescapable because there are only two health insurers in his company’s underserved area.

Without hesitating he reeled off the reason for the 50% increase: His insurer needed to recoup large claims it paid for two premature births, one hemophilia case and a six-month stay in an intensive care unit that nevertheless resulted in a death. The deceased suffered from obesity and “wasn’t taking care of himself.”

The CPA didn’t need advanced data collection to analyze his population: he simply knew it was “Jack” who worked in maintenance, and “Minnie” in accounting, who caused the rate increase. Just by eye-balling, he was able to put a face on those medical costs. And presumably that means (without advanced analysis) he could design a wellness program that might well lower the medical cost of those people.