The Benefits of Wellness Programs

spin bike bicycle exercise foot sneaker gymNearly two-thirds of workers who go to the gym for fitness and weight-loss classes say their employer-sponsored wellness programs helped them reduce healthcare costs.

A survey by HealthMine, a Dallas-based healthcare technology company, found 62 percent of 750 wellness plan participants agreed the programs helped them reduce healthcare costs, while 38 percent said the programs helped them take fewer sick days.

“Healthier populations carry less risk, have fewer claims and lower premiums,” HealthMine Chief Executive Officer and President Bryce Williams said in a statement. “…[W]ellness programs have the potential to improve health and lower costs for the entire population, one person at a time. The benefits of successful wellness programs are cumulative.”

The findings come on the heels of new federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules that clarify employers’ ability to reward wellness program participants. Employers can offer employees financial incentives worth up to 30 percent of individual health insurance premium costs, provided programs are voluntary and follow protections for employees against discrimination.

The survey further found that wellness programs can help detect chronic illnesses. Nearly half of those diagnosed with a chronic health condition say they uncovered their condition through their wellness program.

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