Sector Report: Workplace Wellness Programs Continue Healthy Ascent

In this month's Sector Report, Workforce explores employer wellness programs; also included is our Hot List for wellness providers.

Wellness programs have been gaining popularity as a way to attract top talent with the potential to lower health care costs through healthy living. Larger companies in particular have embraced this trend, with 60 percent providing comprehensive programs including cash incentives, gamified challenges and custom programming. It’s a natural extension of health benefits programming and a desire to create a…

New Wellness Bill HR 1313 Gets Flak for Genetic Privacy Concerns

The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act has received criticism for potentially coercing employees to reveal personal genetic information to their employers.

A new workplace wellness bill is coming under fire. A bill in Congress could slap penalties on workers who don’t participate in corporate wellness programs. The House Education and the Workforce Committee passed the proposal for the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act on March 8. Introduced by panel chairwoman U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-North Carolina, HR 1313 would “reaffirm existing…

Swapping DNA for Lower Insurance Costs Is One Wellness Step Too Far

The solution to cutting employers' health care spend is not asking employees to sacrifice their personal privacy in exchange for lower premiums, as is the push from HR 1313.

It is no secret that health care costs for employers and their employees are out of control. Many employers have attempted to hold down these rising costs by offering wellness-program incentives. The EEOC has signed off on these programs as legal as long as employee participation remains voluntary, which the agency defines as financial incentives for employee participation at or…

Weighing the Value of Workplace Wellness

Companies continue investing in workplace wellness. But can money buy your employees health?

In terms of workplace initiatives, corporate wellness is a relatively new concept that didn’t begin developing until the late 20th century. And for a relatively young industry, it has witnessed impressive growth since its inception in the 1980s.

Employers Missing the Point of Rising Employee Stress

A survey notes their concern for employees as companies target the wrong reasons behind employee stress.

“HR departments aren’t equipped to deal with complex social and psychological issues, so they start with solutions and hope that the problem fits,” said Tom Davenport of Willis Towers Watson. While most employers and employees would agree that stress in the workplace is a persistent problem, they often differ dramatically on the causes — a disconnect that can undermine the…

Appetites for Carrots and Sticks Shift with Wellness Perks

Employers may use incentives such as rewards or punishments to motivate employees to participate in wellness programs, but how much influence is too much?

Workplace wellness initiatives continue making headway into employee perks with one important goal: influencing behavior change and improving employee health. A step competition may aim to motivate employees to adopt a more active lifestyle while a weight-loss program could push employees to be more conscientious of their diet. But when it comes to influencing long-term behavior, the popular carrot-and-stick model,…

Millennials’ Latest Label as Do-Nothings a Good Thing Financially

Auto-enrollment is helping young workers amass a larger chunk of retirement savings earlier in their careers.

“Automatic enrollment is a great feature that brings people into plans that might not necessarily do so otherwise,” said Morningstar’s Aron Szapiro Millennials have a reputation for being self-absorbed, entitled and downright bratty. But a recent study shows they are actually doing a lot of good for themselves when it comes to saving for retirement. To be honest, their impressive…

Policies to Curb Specialty Drug Costs

Specialty drugs are a top concern on the list of cost drivers. The rising costs impact employers and the employees who need these drugs.

“Our goal with this brief was to determine policy obstacles that reduce competition and drive up prices and present it to policy makers,” sad the NBGH’s Steve Wojcik. When drug company Mylan raised the cost of the EpiPen last year, a public uproar ensued and pushed into the spotlight an issue that employers have been concerned about for years —…

Sector Report: Rising Health Care Costs

In this month's Sector Report, Workforce explores the rising cost of health care. Also included are our Hot Lists for both health insurers and vision insurers.

It will come as no surprise that cost continues to be the driving issue for employer-sponsored health insurance programs. Even though premiums only rose a seemingly modest 5 percent in 2016, that rate outstrips inflation and wage increases and is piled onto the previous years of constant increases, which continue to threaten the affordability of entire health care systems. “When…

House Republicans Release Their Replacement Bill for Obamacare

Several employer groups have had a positive reaction toward the proposal, which delays the Cadillac tax and eliminates the employer mandate penalty.

House Republicans released the American Health Care Act on March 6, their replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act. The bill will go through revisions and challenges and needs to pass the full House and Senate before going to the president. It’s the first official Republican health care insurance replacement plan. Employer groups provided their perspective based on the current bill. Most significantly, the…