Five years ago only 57 percent of companies participated in some kind of corporate wellness program
, but today most employees are being asked by their employer to participate in programs designed to make them healthier and to reduce the cost of medical care.
Employers who focus on prevention within their wellness program
may circumvent some of the injuries, illnesses and costs associated with preventable diseases.
While the EEOC regulations define a wellness program
as voluntary if incentive limits do not exceed 30 percent of the cost of self-only coverage, as of Jan.
My firm's weeklong office 5K was not part of any formal wellness program
. There was no entry fee.
It seems every other day we see an article boasting the merits of offering a financial wellness program
. For all this spilled ink, though, there remains no clear consensus on how to measure the success of such programs.
Meet Fitz, a 51-year-old hospital employee in Jackson, Mississippi, who didn't realize he was a ticking time bomb until he went for a free annual health screening as part of his hospital's Healthy Lives workplace wellness program
They were divided into a treatment group of 3,300 people who were offered the opportunity to enroll in the wellness program
and to participate during regular work hours, and a randomly assigned control group of 1,534 people who were not permitted to enroll.
For the study, 3,300 employees of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign were given a year of access to iThrive, a workplace wellness program
similar to what many companies offer workers.
An effective wellness program
taking into consideration employees' needs and expectations is imperative.
A wellness program
is a workplace program intended to improve and promote health and fitness, in which an employer typically offers premium discounts, cash rewards, gym memberships, or other incentives to participate.
Part of the evaluation should include reviewing which employees receive assistance from the financial wellness program
and whether those employees are participating in the 401(k) plan or whether there is some other benefit to the plan.