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Eighty-seven percent of employees say wellness programs positively impact company culture and 96 percent are participating in them to improve their own health, according to the 2014 Survey of Workplace Health Priorities by Virgin Pulse, a wellness program provider.
Despite these findings, many employers are struggling to commit to and measure their wellness strategies, and nearly half (43 percent) aren’t planning to take full advantage of higher incentive limits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Monetary incentives covered by the statute and a June 2013 final rule include rewards—such as a discount or rebate of a premium contribution and a waiver of all or part of a cost-sharing mechanism including deductibles, co-payments or co-insurances—and penalties such as a surcharge or other disincentives. The final rule implements ACA provisions that:
Despite access to financial incentives, a wellness program budget remains a challenge for many organizations.
Among other survey findings:
"Treating people with chronic conditions accounts for 84 percent of what is spent on health care,” said Ken Thorpe, chairman of the nonprofit Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. "There is an undeniably strong link between the vitality of an organization and the health and wellness of its employees, resulting in increased job morale, satisfaction, commitment and performance. We can and must do a lot better addressing these important issues."
Virgin Pulse surveyed 361 organizations and 3,822 employees.
Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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