Despite Health Care Reform rules, formal wellness plans lacking

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The Affordable Care Act creates new incentives and builds on existing wellness program policies to support and encourage employer wellness program for healthier workplaces. The rules apply to “participatory wellness programs” and “health-contingent wellness programs,” and proposed regulations are designed to protect consumers for unfair practices. Given these proposed regulations-it’s interesting that only a little more than half (56%) of companies have a formal, written strategic plan for wellness according to a survey of 400 employers conducted by Optum.cardio-workout

Other findings in this study include:

~At least 8 out of 10 companies offer coaching as part of their exercise, weight management, and nutritional programs.

~The percentage using coaching to address weight jumped to 83% in 2011, up from 74% in 2010.

~The top 3 barriers to employee participation in wellness are as follows:

1)Lack of time/energy

2)Lack of interest

3)Effective communication

~28% of companies surveyed have an onsite clinic.

  • Among companies with onsite clinics, flu shots are the most common services offered by 77%.
  • Other common programs and services offered by onsite clinics are:
    • Wellness communications 56%
    • Fitness challenges 43%
    • Preventive care 42%
    • Health risk assessments 41%

~52% of all companies offer wellness programs to employees’ family members, while one-quarter extend access to retirees.

~49% of eligible employees participate in company wellness programs.

~90% of large companies say wellness solutions are an important part of the benefits mix.

~79% of small companies say wellness is an important part of the benefits mix.

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In our own research, we’ve found that having wellness initiatives in an organization is common, however formal strategies are lacking. Do you have a formal wellness strategy?