Wellness Webinar Highlights

October 08, 2014 | Leave a Comment

In a study by Kaiser Family Foundation, about 94% of employers with over 200 employees are offering some type of a wellness program.  Wellness  is an ongoing trend among companies of all sizes.  The pursuit for innovative ways to keep employees engaged in wellness programs is more important than ever before. Ten years ago, wellness was trying to throw mud up against a wall by doing one program and calling it a wellness program hoping it worked.  Today we have a better-rounded plan to measure ROI, participation and outcomes.   A few highlights from our recent webinar, discussed some of the trends shaping the wellness industry today:

Health Care Reform and Employer Evolution

  • Employers are taking advantage of the ACA provisions by encouraging preventive services and increasing their incentives.  The maximum reward value for a health contingent wellness plan is 30% and an additional 20% for tobacco cessation (a totality of 50%).  Any amount up to those maximums is permissible.
  • More employers are moving to a health contingent outcomes-based program, where the reward is contingent on attaining or maintaining a specific health outcome.

Lifestyle Management

  • Mental Health – Job stress is estimated to cost the US industry more than $300 billion per year in absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity and medical, legal and insurance costs.  It is important for companies and their managers to treat workplace stress like any other work-related hazard by taking an active stance to prevent and manage it.
  • Mindfulness – essentially means moment-to-moment awareness.  The Huffington post describes mindfulness as ‘not a trend, but a movement’ as more companies are seeing the benefits  of teaching  employees how to become aware of their thoughts and feelings and not living on ‘autopilot’  Google now incorporates mindfulness into their “Search Inside Yourself” training.
  • Financial Wellness – just like physical health, financial wellbeing affects all aspects of one’s life.  When an employee doesn’t have control over their financial wellbeing, it can cause issues not only in their family life, but spill over into work life and overall physical health.  There are a variety of resources out there, but a good starting place is leveraging your EAP to see what services they may offer.
  • Redesigning workspaces – On average we sit 9.3 hours per day and more research is coming out about the negative health effects of sitting.  Companies are rethinking office  design by integrating physical fitness into daily work activities through standing or treadmill work stations, walking meetings and more ergonomically designed workstations

Technology Innovations

  • It is estimated that in about five years everything will be measured.  More employers are offering health technologies such wearable fitness trackers, mobile fitness apps, blood pressure devices, heart rate monitors and more.  It appears there will be a bright future for devices that can monitor chronic diseases and spur people to help make healthy choices.

Posted in Benefits, Blog, Health Care Reform Info, Human Resources, Wellness