Employee Wellness Programs

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

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Employee Wellness Programs Cutting Healthcare Costs

An employee wellness program is a great way to promote health and wellness among your staff. Prevention is key to lowering healthcare costs! Not only will this benefit each employee on an individual level but it will also help to lower healthcare costs within a company.  Employee wellness programs are designed to improve general health and well being, increase work ethic and decrease potential injury or illness.  These programs also help to encourage employees to become stronger team players within their work environment.  Program topics may include weight management, tobacco cessation, healthy snack choices, prevention strategies, physical activity importance and onsite health care availability.  The program can go in many different directions depending on what is most interesting to each employee and will be most beneficial for them in the long run.  How about creating some fun competition in the workplace by joining together to train for a 5k race? Or maybe by recording your daily number of steps using a pedometer and comparing them with your fellow employees? It’s easy, fun and rewarding!  A healthier worker leads to decreased absenteeism and possible increase in productivity.  Reduction in health care costs leads to saved money for both the business and the employees.  This seems like a win-win situation!

One example of an employee wellness program is Sentara Health Care; a large health-based company out of Virginia. They launched a three year wellness program called “Mission Health” where they were able to save $3.4 million in employee health care costs throughout 100 work sites. Not only did they save a great deal of money but they also prevented many potential chronic diseases and injuries for their employees! Their program focused on addressing risk factors for chronic diseases and obesity and looked at ways to improve physical activity and decrease tobacco use. Prevention is the easiest way to reduce healthcare costs and employee wellness programs are a great example of this! By working with large companies to increase healthy habits and improve overall wellness we are working to decrease healthcare costs for our nation as a whole. 

For UNH students graduating this year and entering a professional work setting, keep this in mind! Before committing to a new job, make sure to look into the company’s health insurance program and see what health benefits they offer. Check to see if they offer an employee wellness program!  By participating in one of these programs you will be helping yourself move toward a healthier lifestyle while also saving money. As for students interested in the health and wellness field, consider a job as a wellness program specialist or coordinator!

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