More employers using incentives

June 30, 2008

The number of major employers offering employee wellness programs with incentives grew over the past year, according to a study presented by Health2 Resources. The National Association of Manufacturers and The ERISA Industry Committee participated in the survey.

The number of major employers offering employee wellness programs with incentives grew over the past year, according to a study presented by Health2 Resources. The National Association of Manufacturers and The ERISA Industry Committee participated in the survey.

Results show that between 2007 and 2008, there was an increase in the proportion of employers offering incentives for health and wellness, from 62% of companies with programs to 71% in 2008. That’s a 15% overall jump in one year. Incentives vary from offering cash for weight loss to gifts cards for filing out a health risk questionnaire.

In 2007, the top choice among incentives was premium reductions (41%), followed by gift cards (17%). This year, however, gift cards are the top choice (28%), closely followed by premium reductions (26%) and cash (24%). Use of cash bonuses and health savings account contributions remained roughly the same.

The value of an incentive is typically between $100 and $300 per-employer, per-year. Incentives range from a low of $5 to a high of $600 per-person, per-year, and are most commonly leveraged to encourage participation.

Respondents reported giving out incentives for health-program participation 48% of the time, for program completion 38% of the time, and for achieving specific health-related goals or outcomes during the program 16% of the time.

More employers are measuring their returns for the programs as well. Some 83% of those who measure say they are achieving better than a 1-to-1 return.