Workplace Wellness Programs May Reduce Health Costs by 18 Percent

Employers who offer workplace wellness programs have the potential of reducing average worker health costs by 18 percent, according to a recent study released by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

With the changing healthcare insurance dynamic in the U.S., employers are looking to workplace wellness programs in greater numbers as a way to improve the health and well-being of their employees.

Researchers at The Vitality Group in Chicago combined data from two major studies to come up with estimates of possible savings in medical costs from reductions in these key health risk factors or medical conditions:

  • Physical inactivity
  • Low fruit and vegetable intake
  • Smoking
  • Overweight/obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Alcohol abuse

The researchers’ conclusions assumed the reduction of all risk factors to their “theoretical minimums.” Possible savings for older workers and retirees increased up to 28 percent in their model. While the maximum savings estimates would take time to achieve, the authors suggest savings will increase with participation.

“Medical care savings from workplace wellness programs will increase with time given that more eligible wellness program members participate,” said The Vitality Group’s Jonathan P. Dugas, PhD. “As effective control of heightened risk factors improves, greater risk reversal can be achieved.”

For more information about how Saint Francis Medical Center can help with your workplace wellness program, call Chad Clippard, referral services manager, at 573-331-3019.