Wellness programs continue to be a hot topic in the employee benefit industry, but some are skeptical of their true impact on cost reduction. In response, some brokers are looking to wellness coaches to potentially boost participation and increase savings for employer health plans.

While roughly one-third of the clients of Craft Hayes, an adviser for Bernard Health of Nashville, Tenn., express interest in a wellness program, actual employee participation is lackluster at best. “When they make it voluntary, there is pretty low enrollment,” says Hayes. The reason is usually a lack of incentive. Employers want to offer these programs but employees don't see a reduction in their insurance premiums, so they’re not interested, according to Hayes.

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