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More employers are following the lead of companies such as CVS Caremark, which recently made news by
requiring its employees to receive health screenings that include measuring weight, cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure, or face a $50-per-month penalty on their health insurance premiums.
These measures are becoming increasingly common for businesses that are looking to combat the rising cost of health care. For instance, Compdata Surveys’
Benefits USA 2012/2013 survey found that 34 percent of U.S. employers that offer wellness programs either provide health insurance discounts for employees who participate in wellness programs or impose penalties on workers with risk factors who aren’t taking action—up from 25.4 percent in 2009.
The survey, which collected data
from more than 4,500 U.S. benefit plans covering more than 13 million employees, further revealed that:
The average premium increase on employer-sponsored preferred provider organization (PPO) plans has been between 9 percent and 11 percent each year since 2009, according to Compdata Surveys. The findings were reported in April 2013.
Shifting Employer Approach to Incentives
Similarly, HR consultancy Aon Hewitt recently surveyed nearly 800 large and midsize U.S. organizations, representing more than 7 million U.S. employees. The March 2013 survey report showed that 83 percent of employers offer their workers incentives for participating in wellness-improvement programs, including filling out a health-risk assessment and undergoing biometric screenings.
The findings also revealed that:
Tying Incentives to Positive Results
A growing number of employers are linking incentives to sustainable actions and results, Aon Hewitt found:
The survey data indicate a potential shift in how employers are thinking about designing their incentive programs in the future:
According to a separate, recent Aon Hewitt survey conducted in partnership with the National Business Group on Health and The Futures Co., of the workers who were offered a health-risk assessment and were given suggested actions based on their results, four out of five (86 percent) took some action. Further, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those who received suggested actions reported that they made at least one lifestyle improvement.
is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
Wellness Incentive Spending Doubles over Four Years,
SHRM Online Benefits, March 2013
SHRM Online Benefits, January 2013
Incentivizing Good Health: A Success Story,
SHRM Online Benefits, October 2012
Use of Monetary Incentives to Promote Wellness Grows,
SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, August 2012
11th Circuit Upholds Wellness Program's Premium Incentive,
SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, August 2012
Groups Issue Guidance for Outcomes-Based Wellness Incentives,
SHRM Online Benefits, July 2012
SHRM Online Health Care Reform Resource Page
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