Corporate Wellness is certainly heating up. It is creating a lot of "buzz" and attracting a lot of attention. The only problem for the industry currently is the economic recession which has made many employers cut back expenditures including cutting back wellness programs.
As the economy recovers employers will start focusing more on wellness. Soon, regardless of the economy and how long it takes to recover employers will be backed into a corner and realize that their healthcare costs are running out of control and the only way to change that is through health and wellness.
There is no magical silver bullet that is going to reduce healthcare costs. What is very interesting is the aggressive nature some employers are taking with their wellness plans. Some employers are implementing several layers of penalties for employees living unhealthy lifestyles through their benefit plan design.
They are doing this by providing lower copays or lower deductibles to those employees who are healthy, don't smoke and meet other requirements. The end result being employees who are healthy have significantly lower out of pocket costs for their health plan.
While it is called "incentivizing healthy behaviors," let's not fool ourselves that it is also a penalty for those that are unhealthy. I am not taking sides and we will see how it plays out. This is diametrically opposed to some employers who are taking more passive and coaching approaches such as encouraging employees, providing education, health coaching and more.
There are clearly several schools of thought on what is the best wellness plan, how to implement it, whether to create incentives and whether to penalize employees. Time will tell, which path is right, if there is only one path!
The Health and Wellness Association will shortly be releasing information from it's annual meeting that was held at the 1st National Corporate Wellness Conference in Los Angeles, which will include feedback and suggestions from those who attended on the direction, path and projects the Health and Wellness Association should take.
The Health and Wellness Association will then kick off January 2010 with tremendous momentum in it's goal to make America a healthier place! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. See You next month.
About the Author
Jonathan Edelheit is Editor-in-Chief of the Corporate Wellness Magazine, the first magazine for corporate health, wellness, prevention and disease management with a heavy focus on engagement by employees and creating a culture of wellness at the worksite.
Mr. Edelheit is considered an expert in US healthcare and formerly ran a national healthcare administrator where he implemented many cutting edge healthcare programs. Mr. Edelheit has been featured or mentioned in hundreds of magazines and newspapers throughout his ten years and last February was featured as a visionary in US healthcare by Executive Managed Healthcare Magazine.
Mr. Edelheit works with large US health insurance companies, employers, health insurance agents and consulting firms in areas of implementing new cutting edge healthcare programs and add-ons into their group health insurance plans. Mr. Edelheit is also an Editor and Assistant Editor of two other major US and international healthcare magazines.