With a reported 15% increase in wellness incentive spending within their health care plans, corporate employers have their sights set on improving their workforce’s overall health in 2014 through wellness programs for both employees and their significant others, according to a new study from Fidelity Investments an the National Business Group on Health.
Corporate employers expect to spend an average of $594 per employee on wellness-based incentives, an increase from 2013’s $521 average. The amount is more than double the amount spent five years ago.
The biggest increase in spending was in companies with fewer than 5,000 employees. The survey found the number of companies offering incentives to participate in wellness programs has increased from 57% in 2009 to 74% this year. The average spent per employee is up $151 from levels reported last year.
Approximately 95% of employers plan to offer some sort of health improvement program, highlighting that benefit plan sponsors have labeled wellness programs as an integral part of their benefits program in this post-Affordable Care Act world. Also, 74% note that they offer incentives for employee participation.
“While the use and measurement of corporate wellness programs continue to evolve, it has become clear that many employers understand the value of – and are committed to – wellness-based incentives in their company health plan,” says Robert Kennedy, health and welfare practice leader with Fidelity’s benefits consulting business.
The most popular programs include lifestyle management courses that focus on physical activity, weight and stress management. Disease and care management programs – which look to manage chronic health conditions – were also favored.