HealthMine survey could explain low participation rates in employee wellness programs

Dive Brief:

  • A September HealthMine survey of 500 insured consumers found that of the 40% of respondents that said their respective healthcare costs had risen, 45% of that pool had not changed the way they managed their health. 
  • Of those who had taken action to battle healthcare costs, more than half are eating healthier and exercising more. However, 17% of respondents said they were skipping medication doses, and 35% are going to the doctor less often, a situation which the survey writers say demonstrates the need for more guidance on meaningful choices.
  • For businesses managing the costs of healthcare benefits for their employees, which rises at an average of 6% per year according to research from the National Business Group on Health, the biggest cost pushers are expensive prescription medicines and lack of patient responsibility. The latter issue was reflected in a recent survey from HealthFitness, which found that nearly 60% of non-participants in employers' wellness programs wanted to get involved, but simply have not for whatever reason. 

Dive Insight:

This situation is one employers must continue to confront as they figure out how to make their wellness programs more enticing to their workers, as well as more cost-effective. 

The most obvious step as demonstrated by the findings of the HealthFitness survey is to make sure that employees are aware of their benefits. The survey found that while 60% of the 465 respondents did not participate in their workplace wellness program, another 69% of nonparticipants said that they simply weren’t aware their workplace had a wellness program to begin with, reports Harvard Business Review.

At the same time, the survey also highlights ways in which employers can overcome significant cultural or social barriers of non-participation. Fifty-three percent of non-participants said that cultural barriers prevented them from fully engaging, including inconvenience and their employers’ lack of support for their participation.

Another option is to move toward third party wellness tools, such as telehealth consults. NBGH reports that by 2019, 97% of large employers are projected to have some form of telehealth in play, a rise that is credited to cost-effectiveness. 

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Filed Under: Comp & Benefits
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