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Best Wellness Incentives Are Those Backed By Employer Support

03/20/15

  09:49:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 312 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Incentives

Best Wellness Incentives Are Those Backed By Employer Support

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More employers are tying wellness program incentives to measurable improvements on the part of plan members, a recent survey found... but such an aggressive approach is not without risk.

According to the poll of 165 U.S. employers by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 60% offer some type of health-contingent wellness incentive to their employees. And of those wellness programs that are incentive-based, about half offer financial rewards to employees who complete weight-loss programs, fitness challenges and other health-related activities.

Furthermore. over half of employers offering health-contingent financial incentives tie them to verifiable changes for the better, such as achieving or maintaining a healthy weight, reducing their cholesterol or quitting smoking, the survey revealed. The majority of employer who use this outcomes-based approach report a "somewhat" or "very positive" reaction from employees.

MedBen agrees that incentives can indeed help to motivate employees toward the long-term success of a wellness program. But with our MedBen WellLiving program, we typically advise clients to offer financial rewards for completing annual wellness exams or exercising regularly (to cite two examples), rather than for measures that some employees may consider objectionable.

While taking a more aggressive approach to incentives can give employees an extra "push" to meet wellness objectives, it also can potentially leave employers open to charges of discrimination. To protect themselves from legal liability, businesses must provide alternative goals for members who have physical disabilities.

Our experience has shown that if a company's executive team leads through example and demonstrates continued support for a program's success, employees are more likely to be invested as well. Incentives work best if they're simply one part of a greater overall commitment to better health in the workplace.

To learn more about MedBen WellLiving incentive solutions, contact Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

Read more about the 2015 Workplace Wellness Trends Survey at the Business First website.

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