ADP surveyed about 250 mid-sized companies (50 to 999 employees) and 250 larger companies (0ver 1000 workers) to learn about their activities in regard to wellness programs. (ADP Survey) The majority of companies are expecting continuing significant increases in health care costs and over 90% see health care costs as a medium or high priority to address. The three primary methods employers identified for limiting health care costs are keeping the number of employees low, use lower cost benefit designs and shift costs to employees. None of these are good for workers or the economy and it is somewhat surprising the number of companies in the survey who said health care costs was a definite factor in downsizing decisions. Companies are aware that the actions they are taking in regard to health care costs are impacting employee morale and loyalty but apparently feel they have no choice but to take strong actions. Another approach to controlling costs is using wellness programs. About 45% of mid-sized and 80% of large employers said they offer some form of wellness program. The primary reason was improving employee health, followed by controlling costs and increasing productivity. Most of these programs have been offered for five years or more. About 50% of employees in mid-sized companies and 40% in large companies were participating. Almost all were voluntary but about 15% of employers had a penalty for not participating. Among common features were an employee assistance offering, health education and promotion, screening and biometric testing, smoking cessation, exercise, weight loss, coaching and health risk assessments. A minority of companies assess return on their wellness program costs and of those that do, a slight majority reports meeting expectations in cost control effects.
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About this Blog
The Healthy Skeptic is a website about the health care system, and is written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry. Mr. Roche is available to assist health care companies through consulting arrangements through Roche Consulting, LLC and may be reached at [email protected].
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