Benefits

Get Well Soon? Wellness Programs May Help Decrease Health Costs, Survey Shows

By Max Mihelich

Apr. 10, 2013

A new report by the MetLife Mature Market Institute suggests companies should bolster their health and wellness programs in an effort to reduce health care costs.

According to the report, 26.2 percent of all U.S. adults are sedentary, which MetLife defines as “not doing any physical activity outside of work for 30 days,” and about the same percentage of people are obese. Additionally, 9 percent of U.S. adults have diabetes and nearly 31 percent have high blood pressure.

Obesity increases expenditures by $1,723 per year per capita, according to the report. The study also notes that between 1999 and 2005, the average employer cost for health insurance increased from $1.60 to $2.59 per employee per hour.

The report cites research from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Michigan’s Health Management Research Center, which shows it is more cost effective for businesses to provide preventive-care services such as exams, screenings, health risk appraisals, behavioral coaching and health education rather than just traditional acute-care services.

The report notes populations that were exposed to increased health education experienced an improvement in overall health, especially in terms of health-related disabilities.

The study also suggests that employers provide telehealth and virtual medical care, which would allow employees constant access to their medical providers. Such services reduce the chance of admissions to hospitals and long-term-care facilities, according to the report.

“A lifetime perspective is essential to preserving the health of generations of Americans,” said Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, in a written statement. “For example, a decline in chronic disease would reduce the prevalence of disability and lead to declines in associated medical expenditures per year. In the workplace, employers can play an important role by promoting good health behaviors through wellness programs. This practice would also help employees become more engaged and productive in their jobs.”

Max Mihelich is Workforce’s associate editor. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com. Follow Mihelich on Twitter at @workforcemax.

Max Mihelich is a writer in the Chicago area.

About Workforce.com

blog workforce

We build robust scheduling & attendance software for businesses with 500+ frontline workers. With custom BI reporting and demand-driven scheduling, we help our customers reduce labor spend and increase profitability across their business. It's as simple as that.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog

Benefits

EEOC says that employers legally can offer incentives to employees to get vaccinated in almost all instances

If you’re an employer looking to get as many of your employees vaccinated as possible, you can rest eas...

ADA, CDC, COVID-19, EEOC, GINA, pandemic, vaccinated

workforce blog

Benefits

Fixing some common misconceptions about HIPAA

Ever since the CDC amended its COVID-19 guidance to say that the fully vaccinated no longer need to wea...

COVID-19, health care, HIPAA, human resources, wellness

workforce blog

Benefits

We are in the midst of a public mental health crisis; how employers can help

Do not ignore these issues or your employees who are living with them. Mental health illnesses are no d...

ADA, benefits, Coronavirus, FMLA, mental health, paid time off