Growing Corporate Wellness and Bringing the Industry Together
Corporate Health and Wellness is now one of the fastest growing industry segments within US healthcare. It is amazing how much press and attention it is getting. Even the Wall Street Journal now has a weekly section dedicated to health and wellness. Every large, middle size and small health insurance company in the country had implemented some form of wellness programs for employers, their employees and dependents. America is under attack, and we are fighting a war.
The war is against being unhealthy and unwell. Up to this point Americans have been losing this war, as we as a people become even more unhealthy and unwell as each year goes on and healthcare costs and premiums continue to skyrocket to the point where many Americans can no longer afford to pay for health insurance and many employers won't be able to continue to contribute to health insurance premiums for employees. An example of this losing war are recently released reports where the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found adult obesity rates rose in 23 of the 50 states, and fell in none of those states.
In 30 states, child obesity is at or above 30%. We are at a crisis point, but no one is talking about it or addressing it. Everyone knows that obesity relates to chronic disease and has a direct correlation to rising healthcare costs and it is linked to diabetes and heart disease. Childhood obesity rates in the US have more than tripled since 1980. Also, the baby boomer generation has a higher rate of obesity than compared to previous generations. Some states are worse than others for adult obesity. Mississippi is the worst state with a adult obesity rate of 32.5% with Alabama, West Virginia and Tennessee having adult obesity rates in excess of 30%, while Colorado has adult obesity rates below 20%.
But now, things are changing. Everyone realizes that we are losing the battle and things have to change. And so, the first real shot in the war has been fired, as the US launches its first attack on our healthcare crisis, and that first shot fired is Corporate Wellness. There is more momentum than ever by insurance companies, employers and the government to attack this problem in the workplace and through employers. The US government has set a target of cutting obesity rates in all 50 states to 15% by next year. I personally don't believe it will happen that fast, but it will start to happen.
Congress and the Obama administration have come out in full support of Corporate Wellness and health and wellness programs. There are discussions ongoing in congress on how to support Corporate Wellness programs and Obama is trying to pass legislation to give tax credits to employers who implement corporate wellness programs. I am a firm believer that either this year in 2009 or by 2010 there will be legislation passed providing advantages to employers who implement corporate wellness programs. When this happens, the Corporate Wellness industry will explode and we will see this become the fastest trend in healthcare and the industry grow over 1000% overnight.
Corporate Wellness is really one of the only weapons that can be used to effectively fight the healthcare crisis, and is the only solution to bring down healthcare costs. As corporate wellness emerges the most important thing is getting the industry to focus more on evidence based wellness and corporate wellness programs that work. There are hundreds of theoretical programs out there and some that simply don't pass muster. What is even more important is focusing on the education and implementation of these programs and getting the "buy-in" of employees and their dependents.
Anyone can implement a corporate wellness program, but the most difficult part is getting the employees and plan members to actually "engage" in the program, and utilize the benefits and become healthier. Not only does this require education of the employees and plan members, but the education of the employer on how to properly implement a corporate wellness program and what are the best corporate wellness programs to utilize. Many corporate wellness programs fail because employers don't implement them right or choose the wrong programs.
Now, on to the corporate wellness magazine! Reading this, you are participating in something groundbreaking in the insurance and healthcare industry; the changing of time. We have entered the internet era, and whether you like it or not you need to be on board with it, because the train has left the station. Today, the internet is where "everyone" gathers their information and data. Very few people gather information in "print form" anymore. I know personally, I get all my news from online news internet sites. I don't come home and watch the news on TV anymore, and if you do, many will be disappointed because it really isn't news anymore but people debating topics, or talking about inconsequential things.
Everything I do today, I do online. When I am looking for health information, I Google it or Bing it! When I apply for group health insurance, I do it online. When I shop for things, I go online. Today, everything is online, and everything is found through search engines.People spend their whole day using computers and have learned that through the internet you can instantly access any information you want. People want instant access and results. Look at what our society is turning into with new services like Twitter, where you can send messages to people following you, but the messages can have no more than 140 characters, and other internet sites like FaceBook and Linkedin.
The internet and technology is the future and the corporate wellness industry needs to adjust its strategies and marketing to modern times. Look on the bright side, for those of you who are environmentally conscious, then you can consider reading this online corporate magazine is helping the concept of "going green" and helping reduce your carbon footprint!
Since there is no printed version of this magazine we aren't cutting down trees to print the paper, making chemicals for the ink, and having trucks spill exhaust into the atmosphere delivering a print version magazine to your door. You are helping to save the planet. You and I are doing our share, even if that wasn't our original intent. I think that goes along great with the concept of corporate wellness which is about health and wellness. Until next time!
About the Author
Jonathan Edelheit is Editor-In-Chief of the Corporate Wellness Magazine, the only Corporate Wellness Magazine in the industry focused on Health and Wellness in the workplace. Mr. Edelheit has been involved in US healthcare for almost ten years and ran a national healthcare administrator for almost seven years that administered healthcare plans for insurance companies, employers and governments.
While running the healthcare administrator Mr. Edelheit started to implement the first corporate wellness programs there through many tools such as health risk assessments, tele-medicine, e-health and many more options. Mr. Edelheit has been featured or mentioned in hundreds of media publications and in February 2008 was featured as a visionary in US healthcare by Executive Managed Healthcare Magazine.
Mr. Edelheit also organizes the Corporate Wellness Conference which is the only dedicated national conference on corporate health and wellness in the country and which targets employers, health insurance agents and large consulting firms. Mr. Edelheit is also an attorney.Jonathan Edelheit may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org