Performing a Check-up on Value-based Health Care

Can accountable care organizations thrive in a fickle employer health care marketplace? How excellent is a center of excellence? Are narrow networks too slim to work?

Value-based health care in its many forms continues to gain favor among employers. When it comes to improving employee health while managing costs, a growing number of large employers are taking matters into their own hands. They are working directly with hospitals and physicians to provide quality health care, negotiating payment arrangements, and in some cases bucking the insurance middleman…

One Employee Says He’s Sick of Wellness Carrots and Sticks

Kurt Schanaman has turned his back on employer-provided health care. HR 1313 just adds more fuel to his fire.

Not everyone is onboard with HR 1313, which allows employers to offer lower insurance premiums for employees who share their personal genetic information. Last week I posted a news brief about a new bill that caused some controversy. That bill, the Preserving Employee Wellness Program Act, or HR 1313, would allow employers to offer lower insurance premiums for employees who…

New Surveys Reveal That Most Employees Favor Paid Leave and Flexible Schedules

If employees value these benefits as highly as these surveys suggest, why aren’t you offering them to your employees?

America remains the only industrialized nation that doesn’t mandate some level of paid maternity and/or family leave for employees. Meanwhile, while the FMLA provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave, many will tell you that benefit is woefully inadequate for employees. Indeed, more than 40 percent of employees are not covered by the FMLA and are not eligible to take FMLA leave. Thus,…

Got Breast Milk? These Female Business Travelers Do

A niche benefits offering that provides a free breast milk delivery service to nursing business travelers is one way a California-based tech company is trying to retain female workers in its male-dominated organization.

Some benefits like retirement and health care are consistently ranked as important among all groups of employees, regardless of age, gender or other divisions. But niche benefits offerings, which only apply to a small portion of a company’s workforce, can add great value to a small number of employees at no great cost to the employer. They can be a…

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,…