Brokers must work with employers to focus on engaging employees in their wellness programs, advises Nikki Duggan, Director of Well-Being Operations & Analytics Wellness at Healthways. Duggan spoke on a webcast, “The connected consumer: Driving engagement in health and well-being,” produced by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab on May 18.
Wellness programs’ expanded value proposition has to be shown but sometimes it isn’t articulated well, Duggan notes. People want to raise their physical, social and mental well-being, but these solutions are falling short, she says.
Duggan also shared the outcome of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index Survey and Healthways Well-Being Assessment, which confirm that greater well-being equals lower costs. For example, for every point on the Index that well-being increases, hospital admissions go down by 2%.
The assessments also revealed that consumers spend $50 billion a year on diet pills and $10 billion on anti-depressants.
Joseph F. Coughlin, director of the MIT AgeLab, also discussed preliminary findings of a study on how baby boomers seek information and how they discuss what they learn online. The study found that 74% of those 45-plus have great confidence in themselves — as a result, when they have a health question they either go online or gather information from a publication before seeking help from doctors in white lab coats. They also suffer from a “paradox of choice,” Coughlin says, so they ask, “How do I sort through the clutter? Who do I trust?”
With the realities of their retirement years becoming clearer in the minds of baby boomers, they will reach out for answers, Duggan notes. Some will be misled, and some will be confused — and advisers should be ready when called upon to offer guidance.
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