As health care costs continue their upward trajectory, employers everywhere are left searching for ways to manage their benefit costs, and many are looking to wellness programs as the solution.  In fact, an Express Scripts study recently revealed that 81% of employers surveyed intend to offer a wellness plan in the next two years.

In the past, wellness plans almost seemed like “nice-to-haves” that remained on the periphery.  However, due to demonstrated ROIs that well-utilized wellness plans can deliver, some employers are becoming very aggressive in their efforts to drive higher utilization and engagement – some even offer financial incentives like lower medical premiums for adopting healthier behaviors.

Despite these rewards and, of course, the health benefits of complying with a wellness plan, many employers are struggling with employee adoption.  Lately, more human resources professionals have been telling us about their challenges with hitting their membership goals. 

Wellness plans, just like any other benefit an employer offers, are only effective if employees are aware of them and understand their features and advantages.  Effective communication is critical to employee engagement.

We saw this first-hand when we incorporated wellness communication into a client’s overall benefits education/enrollment campaign.  The Human Resources team expressed dissatisfaction with the organization’s overall wellness participation and asked us if we could help them spread the word. 

Our employee communication materials included information about the wellness initiative, and our on-site benefits counselors discussed it with employees during their individual enrollment sessions.

Following the enrollment, Human Resources reported a nearly three-fold increase in wellness participation and felt the additional communication helped give it a much-needed boost.

With ExpressScripts also reporting that poor health choices generate billions in wasted medical costs, an employer’s investment in wellness communications has the potential to produce a substantial ROI!

Mantz is Vice President of Sales at The Farmington Company, a national provider of benefits communication and voluntary benefits services. He has over 20 years of industry experience, including on the carrier side. Doug is a published author and has spoken on a variety of industry topics. He is a graduate of Boston College with degrees in Economics and Sociology. He can be contacted at dmantz@farmingtonco.com or 1-800-621-0067, x6703.

 

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