Wellness Programs

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Wellness Programs

Wellness programs have become a powerful new tool for employers to combat rising healthcare costs. Historically, each year corporate healthcare premiums have risen 5 to 15%. Prior to the advent of wellness programs, corporate executives and employers were at the mercy of their medical insurance providers to cover the expense of rising premiums, regardless of the price tag. What many employers are now finding is that they can monitor and even change the health status of their employee population by implementing this cost-saving employee benefit.

Most wellness programs offer at least the following core services: Health Risk Assessment (HRA), Health Screening, Health Coaching, and Health Promotion Materials.

A Health Risk Assessment, also known as Health Risk Appraisal or HRA, is a questionnaire used by healthcare professionals to determine the health risk of an individual. More specifically, a Health Risk Assessment determines the economic health risk of an individual, meaning the likelihood that an individual will need to spend money on healthcare due to increased risk factors.

A surprise to many, the act of taking a Health Risk Assessments in and of itself has been statistically proven to make a difference in lowering the overall risk of employee populations and individual employees. What this means is that simply taking a Health Risk Assessment lowers the health risk of employees and corporations. For this reason, Health Risk Assessments have become the gold standard for wellness program implementation due to its ease of implementation and effectiveness.

Health Screening, also called Biometric Testing, is the process by which individuals measure their Blood Glucose, Blood Lipids, Blood Pressure, Triglycerides, and other health aspects. Usually, Health Screening is performed on-site by a laboratory group, phlebotomist, or registered nurse in conjunction with other wellness specialists. Like the HRA, all measurements and feedback are confidential and not shared with employers. Health Screening is a vital part to any wellness program as it uncovers measured information that cannot be retrieved from self-reported questionnaires alone.

Health Coaching is much like working with a personal trainer at the gym, except that the relationship is usually telephonic and the goals are more focused on nutrition and health than on weight lifting or cardiovascular workouts. Most companies that implement wellness programs will choose to either have Health Coaching for employees that are deemed “high risk” (employees with the least desirable Health Risk Assessment scores or Health Screening results), or companies will choose to have “open calling” wherein all employees are eligible to work with a personal Health Coach.

Health Promotion Materials are an important aspect of wellness programs, primarily because the materials are relatively easy to publish and can have a dramatic effect upon program participation. One important thing to remember with wellness program participation is that it is better to have company policies in place to increase participation than it is to send out Health Promotional Materials in hopes that more employees will participate. Health Promotion Materials should serve more as reminders for upcoming events and health education than as a fail-safe for program compliance.

What’s next? Now that you have a basic understanding of the primary pieces that comprise wellness programs, how do you determine which wellness program is best for your company? This is not necessarily the easiest question to answer. Every wellness company is not the same. Some wellness companies have superior account management and others have amazing technology or solid customer service.

A good place to start is to first determine what it is that your company is trying to achieve. This can easily be accomplished by forming your own wellness committee, including the primary decision makers for the program. Important considerations are: program budget, short-term goals, long-term goals, internal champions, program options, number of employees, participation, and program rollout timeline.

Once your company has decided that they will proceed with implementing a corporate wellness program, you should try and visit the websites of companies that you are interested in getting wellness proposals from. A website can tell a lot about what services the company offers and how they view their program offerings. If you find some programs that you find interesting, see if they have a place where you can request a free corporate wellness proposal. If they don’t, it could be an indicator of poor customer service or at least lack of a strong sales system.

The best wellness companies will be less interested with promoting their wellness programs and more interested in understanding what it is that you are trying to accomplish and consulting you in order to accomplish your company’s health goals. If it is a good fit, then the wellness advisor or sales person should easily be able to draft a wellness program that is tailored EXACTLY to your needs. If it is not EXACTLY what you wanted, then the advisor was probably not paying attention or is not solution oriented.

Here at Kersh Risk Management, we deal with each customer one-on-one and spend more time listening to interested future customers than we do explaining why your company should implement a wellness program or why our services are the best in the marketplace. Our services speak for themselves as do our results. The focus of our wellness advisors and consultants is to help your company understand what its goals are and work together to achieve success for your organization. If we have done our job correctly in listening to our future customers, the program will meet all of the required needs and specifications and it will have exactly the results that your organization is looking for.

We would like to invite you to have a conversation with one of our wellness advisors today or at your earliest convenience. To get started, please fill out our free corporate wellness proposal. From there, we will spend some time thinking about what program components might fit each of your needs and then work together through the discovery process to build your next wellness program. We look forward to hearing from you and building our partnership in health.