Human resources departments are tasked with overseeing the spiraling cost of group healht programs, yet there are some surprising ways to manage the expense of employee health care. Over the past five years, the number of organizations that have invested in incentive-driven health improvement programs has increased. It has been found that health improvement programs are more successful and have greater employee “buy in” when specific incentives, such as health savings account contributions, gift cards or cash are offered.
Health improvement programs can be broken down into three categories:
- Condition management. These are programs that help employees control and manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes and asthma.
- Lifestyle management. These programs may include smoking cessation, weight loss and EAP.
- Health risk management. A proactive approach to keeping healthy, these programs often include free flu shots and employee access to resources that will help them find health care providers.
While Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and Smoking Cessation programs are the most common and the most successful health improvement programs, employers have found that they need to expand their offerings to include condition and health risk management programs to engage even more of the employee population.
Any health improvement program, even if it is backed by incentives, is not going to be successful unless it resonates with employees. One of the best ways to determine the success of a health improvement program and an incentive is to obtain feedback from employees. By doing so, employers will have a better idea of which programs and incentives to continue to invest in..