Corporate Wellness Plans Reduce Healthcare Costs

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Corporate Wellness Plans Reduce Healthcare Costs

Concerns over the rising costs of healthcare are well-founded. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “only five cents of every healthcare dollar spent in the United States is expended on prevention, while about ninety-five cents are spent on treatment.” For the financially conscious, this news is disconcerting. Their research also revealed that, “more than seventy-five percent of our health care costs stem from preventable chronic conditions.” The equivalent of such a system is inconceivable.

Consider a large cliff overlooking a treacherous gorge. Rather than placing a fence or guard rail at the top of the cliff to prevent visitors and tourists from falling, a hospital is built at the bottom of the valley. When people slip and fall off the edge of the cliff they are treated for their injuries at the hospital. The health care costs for this treatment are extremely high, yet the cost to build a fence or guard rail is inexpensive in comparison. While this example may sound ludicrous, it is a metaphor to show the seriousness of current healthcare costs and conditions. It is imperative that action is taken to prevent disease and promote well-being, rather than continuing to apathetically accept rising healthcare costs.

Corporate wellness plans and workplace health programs are just one of the ways to “build the fence” so to speak. A vast majority of employees work for corporate and business related enterprises. Using corporate wellness plans to enhance overall employee health will target a high population. By stressing disease prevention and health promotion in the workplace, healthcare costs can be significantly reduced. A 2010 Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care Report conducted by the National Business Group on Health and Towers Watson admitted that, “The greatest challenge to managing health care costs is employees’ poor health habits and the biggest obstacle to changing employee behaviors is the lack of employee engagement.” To improve employee health and well-being it is evident that employees must become engaged and motivated to improve their overall wellness. Starting a corporate wellness plan is an effective way to inspire one’s workers to become proactive in their own health. Workplace health programs that encourage prevention not only benefit an overall corporate health, but also individual workers. The focus on wellness, as opposed to achieving a single health goal, challenges employees to focus on long-term maintenance and commitment to their overall health.

Many people believe that corporate wellness plans or workplace health programs only will apply to their employees’ general physical health. For example, they may assume that corporate wellness plans only have goals of weight loss or lowered blood pressure. However, it should be noted that wellness actually encompasses a person’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Workplace health programs actually may overview one’s dental health, financial well-being, overall fitness, mental condition, nutritional health, general safety, stress-management techniques, tobacco over-usage, and alcohol abuse. The goal of corporate wellness plans is a holistic approach to corporate health. Research increasingly shows that adding the services of a Health Coach to a company’s existing Wellness Plan, increases employee participation and focuses more attention on prevention. Many wellness plans target only those employees who are on the verge of, or who have already developed a compromised health condition. Health Coaches interact with all employees and work with them to set long-term lifestyle changes to live healthier lives. That’s a win-win for the employee and the corporations’ Healthcare Costs!

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