As the New Year approaches, you may be thinking about resolutions. And, as per usual, those resolutions (such as eating healthier and exercising more) seem like distant memories as the year goes on.
What we fail to realize is that most major lifestyle changes like those mentioned above are easier to make when someone is beside us for support. Resolutions have a better chance of working when we work on goals together.
Businesses need resolutions too, and if you want your business to be successful in 2015, there’s one resolution you may want to consider – one that will make you an ally (albeit an unlike one) in helping your employees to keep their fitness resolutions: wellness programs.
According to a survey of employers by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), some nine out of ten companies now offer wellness programs as part of their benefit packages to encourage their employees to lead and maintain healthy lifestyles. The survey indicates a growing understanding on the part of employers that healthy employees are good business.
Wellness programs lower insurance costs
Towers Watson found in its survey that businesses pay over $9,000 on average for each employee’s health insurance. Group health insurance works like other types of insurance: if their employees are deemed high risk due to unhealthy lifestyles, their employer will pay more for group health insurance.
Consider this example: Employees battling depression can raise employers’ costs by up to 70 percent. Exercise is a proven way to treat depression and a major component of most wellness programs. The conclusion: It’s cheaper to insure healthy employees, and wellness programs can help employees achieve and maintain good health. Therefore, wellness programs virtually pay for themselves.
Fewer sick days equals increased productivity
Those living healthy lifestyles aren’t as susceptible to illness, and wellness programs help reinforce and maintain this. Productivity losses resulting from absenteeism due to illness is costing employers billions of dollars each year; the impact of unhealthy lifestyles is taking its toll on individual employers and on the country as a whole.
Return on investment
Not only are there savings on healthcare premiums, but a multitude of companies are also seeing additional benefits from wellness programs and healthy employees. For example, depending on the state you live in, you could be eligible for a tax credit, possibly reducing your company’s taxable income.
Additionally, you could see savings on workers compensation insurance premiums, as fewer workers compensation claims are filed. The numbers are certainly attractive – businesses that implement wellness programs may see an average decrease of up to 30 percent in workers comp claims, as well as in long-and short-term disability claims. And you may avoid many potentially expensive lawsuits.
These are just a few ways wellness programs will work for you. It’s not just about becoming a caring employer, it’s also good business.
Your insurance agent can help you determine what kind of wellness program is right for your company.