Try this experiment: Ask your health benefits broker to provide you a detailed actuarial report on the ROI for your company wellness program — yes, the one you just purchased from your TPA, fully insured carrier, or commercially available vendor.

I’ll bet you a dozen Amish donuts that the data either isn’t available or shows no statistically significant cost savings (compared the price you paid for it).

Many HR Benefit Managers end up purchasing a wellness programs is because:


  • It seemed like the right thing to do — although no hard and fast data was available
  • Everyone else is doing it — so it must be useful.
  • The company’s health benefits broker told you it would/might/could help save money in the long run — but no guarantees were tied the purchase price.
  • The rest of the company culture was so awful, it was the only thing the Top Brass would allow HR to implement
  • or….fill in the ____________ with your favorite reason.

In the absence of an organizational commitment to change company culture that begins with the Board/Executive Leadership and culminates in a company-wide transformation (which, by the way, includes a workplace wellness program), it is highly unlikely that your workplace wellness program is providing an ROI to justify the money you’ve put into it. By some actuarial studies, wellness programs generate 0.02% impact on improving health and lowering claims costs. [Yawn!]

Start with getting the basics done right and focus on what works. A recent study by Johns Hopkins [Link: Transamerica Center for Health Studies ] is a great place to start your serious efforts to improve health and well-being of the work force. After all, your company is spending somewhere around $5,800 to $9,000+ per year per employee (for single employee coverage) — if you provide family coverage, the expenses are even higher. For a typical US company, that means your spending close to 8% of operating expenses on health care services (not to mention the indirect costs associated with ill-health — lost productivity, absences from work, etc.,). [Link: Health Care Benchmarking Report].

What are you waiting for? Start managing for results.

Author 9Rooftops Health

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