Credit union human resource executives looking to stem the rising costs of health care insurance may want to take a second look at starting a workplace wellness program.
According to a new study published in the January edition of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, workplace wellness programs have the potential to reduce average employee health costs by 18% — and even more for older employees.
The study – titled “Medical Care Savings from Workplace Wellness Programs: What is a Realistic Savings Potential” – focused on seven risk factors or medical conditions typically addressed by workplace wellness programs: physical inactivity, low fruit and vegetable intake, smoking, overweight/obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and alcohol abuse.
The results suggested that — if all heightened risk factors could be reduced to their "theoretical minimums" — total medical care expenses per person for all employees would be reduced by about $650, or approximately 18%. The possible savings increased with age – up to 28% for older working adults, according to the study.
Although the maximum savings estimated are unlikely to be achieved immediately, the study noted that savings from workplace wellness programs could increase over time given that more eligible wellness program members participate and effective control of heightened risk factors improves.
The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine is the publication of American College and Occupational and Environmental Medicine, an international society of 5,000 occupational physicians and other health care professionals.