You’ve heard the phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In an environment of increased health spending, more than 81 percent of America’s businesses with 50 or more employees have some form of health promotion.
Why? Because worksite wellness is health care reform that works. For many companies, medical costs can consume half of corporate profits or more and business leaders are searching for ways to control annual increases in health insurance premiums and health care costs. Some look to cost sharing, cost shifting, managed care plans, risk rating, and cash-based rebates or incentives. But sometimes these methods merely shift costs instead of reducing them. It has been proven that worksite health programs stand out as the long-term answer for keeping employees well in the first place.
A study* published in 2010 by Harvard researchers concluded that employer-adopted wellness programs see substantial ROI, even with in the first few years of adoption. Medical costs fall about $3.27 for every dollar spent, and absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent. The authors, who looked at 36 studies covering a spectrum of industries, also concluded there were likely many other benefits such as improved health, reduced turnover, and lower costs for public programs such as disability insurance and Medicare.
Several other well-publicized case studies have suggested a positive ROI in prevention. The Citibank Health Management Program reported an estimated savings of $4.50 in medical expenditures per dollar spent on its wellness program. Studies from the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), Bank of America and Johnson & Johnson have similarly estimated sizable health care savings from such programs. The Travelers Corp. claimed a $3.40 return for every dollar invested in health promotion, for a savings of $146 million in benefits costs, and sick leave was reduced 19 percent during a four-year study, according to the Wellness Councils of America (WELCOA).
In Wisconsin, a medical claims-based study of 72,000 people insured through 285 Wisconsin school districts found a lower demand for medical services among those with access to disease prevention and self-care programs. Reductions in medical services resulted in savings for the Wisconsin Education Insurance Group of as much as $4.75 for each $1 spent.
Workforce Health programs and services are customized to meet the needs of your organization and employees. Based on employee HRA’s and screening results, we’ll create an overall company health profile. With that information, along with insurance claims data (if you wish), we’ll work with your benefits staff to design a plan that best fits your employee needs and your company’s resources.
Along the way, we’ll show you the numbers with benchmarks, health trends analyses and program planning — so you see your ROI. Plus, we’ll help engage your employees so they see results.
*Health Affairs, 29, no. 2, January 14, 2010 (online); by Katherine Baicker, professor of health economics at the School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston; David Cutler, professor of economics at Harvard University; Zirui Song, doctoral candidate at Harvard Medical School. Health Affairs is a leading peer-reviewed journal of health policy thought and research.