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Beyond the carrot and stick

Expect the emergence of a more sophisticated approach to incentives, says Thomas. Some employers, especially those with a lot of wellness program experience, will be emphasizing outcomes rather than just participation. “More progressive employers are looking at outcomes-based incentives,” she says.

So instead of giving traditional incentives ($50 to join a gym, for example), they will require that employees pass biometric screenings to receive discounts on their health insurance premiums. Those who don’t meet the necessary biometric levels would have to enroll in a wellness program and after achieving a healthy body mass index and other biometric numbers, would then be eligible for the discounts.