Worksite Health Programs : Benefits of Worksite Wellness Programs*
The expenditures of health care have been rising more than 10 percent each year for several years. A substantial amount of the money invested in the health care system treats costly illnesses and diseases.
• Approximately 95 percent of the $1.4 trillion that we spend as a nation on health goes to direct medical services, while about 5 percent is allocated to preventing disease and promoting health.
• Potentially, 50 percent to 70 percent of all diseases are avoidable as they are associated with potentially-modifiable health risks.
• In an effort to optimize employee health, lower preventable health care utilization and enhance work execution, and in turn decreased health care costs and better employee satisfaction and retention, many companies are planning, or are interested in planning, Company Wellness Programs for staff members.
The benefits of workplace wellness are well documented. Greater than 120 research studies repeatedly show themes such as improvements in health outcomes coupled with high returns on investment (ROI). Some primary findings include the following:
• Savings of $3.48 in reduced medical care costs per dollar invested.
• Savings of $5.82 in lower absenteeism costs per dollar invested.
• ROIs of at least $3 to $8 per dollar invested within five years of program implementation.
• Lifestyle behavior change programs: $3 to $6 return on investment within 2 to 5 years.
• Self care, decision backing programs: $2 to $3 ROI within a year.
• Disease management programs: $7 to $10 return on investment within a year.
By offering health improvement programs, organizations are not only offering an additional service for workers, but they are also gaining fiscally. Furthermore, the impact of a health improvement program goes beyond lowered healthcare cost and ROI. A health improvement program can affect productivity, absenteeism, morale, recruitment success, turnover, and healthcare costs.
• Source: Rees, C., and Finch, R. (2004). Health Improvement: A comprehensive guide to designing, launching and evaluating workplace programs. National Business Group on Health, 1 (1), 1-7.
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