Providing Incentives for Wellness Program Participation

May 2, 2012 — 2,103 views  
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Although many employers offer attractive wellness programs, less than half of employees participate in most of these corporate programs. Businesses typically provide wellness programs as a way to encourage employees to improve their health in order to reduce company costs and the decreased productivity associated with poor health.

Some health programs may include encouraging employees to complete an adult health exam, maintain a personal health record or take part in a smoking cessation program. The success of an employee wellness program is dependent on whether employees participate. Therefore, companies may want to provide incentives that will encourage staff participation.

Companies are beginning to stimulate wellness program participation with financial incentives. Others offer discounts on premium contributions or even punish those who don't take part by requiring them to pay more per month in premium contributions. However, incentives are controlled by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and other federal and state laws.

"We think money is definitely going to encourage better participation," explained Colorado benefits manager Mark Cauthen to Workforce. "Originally we had quarterly prizes, but administratively, it was a nightmare. Now, instead, they get a $250 taxable check."