Employers target chronic health conditions in prevention programs
It shows companies are increasingly rewarding employees for avoiding tobacco, participating in weight loss programs, and completing an annual health risk assessment.
The survey of more than 550 employers was released by the Society for Human Resource Management. It evaluated the prevalence of more than two dozen wellness program elements.
Some 61 percent of employers said they offer wellness programs, a slight increase from last year's findings. There were fairly significant increases in certain types of programs offered.
Health and lifestyle coaching is offered by 45 percent of employers, up from 37 percent in 2011.
Health care premium discounts for employees who get annual health risk assessments are offered by 21 percent, compared with 14 percent a year ago. Health care premium discounts for not using tobacco products are offered by 20 percent of employers, compared with 12 percent last year.
Other programs and the percentages of employers offering them include the following:
- On-site seasonal flu vaccination -- 61 percent.
- Health screening programs -- 45 percent.
- Smoking cessation programs -- 39 percent.
- Preventive programs specifically targeting employees with chronic health conditions -- 36 percent.
- Fitness center membership subsidies or reimbursements -- 32 percent.
- Weight loss programs -- 32 percent.
"Organizations are attempting to combat preventable and chronic conditions with a wide variety of programs and initiatives," the report says. "Many health problems are associated with obesity and other types of preventable and chronic conditions. These conditions affect the health and well-being of employees and can have a significant economic impact on business."
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
July 12, 2012
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