ROSELAND, N.J., Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the past year, 70% of midsized U.S. companies experienced a significant increase in the cost of providing employee healthcare and 91% cited controlling these costs as a priority, according to a study from the ADP Research Institute(SM) . As these escalating costs impact midsized companies' ability to compete, an expert panel convened last night to examine how employee wellness programs can empower employers to offset health expenses so they can focus on business growth.
Employers save an average of $5.81 for every dollar invested in wellness programs due to improved employee health, according to the American Journal of Health Promotion . The savings are the result of a 27% reduction in employee sick leave, a 26% reduction in health costs and a 32% decrease in workers' compensation and disability claims.
"Wellness programs are one of the most important, yet overlooked tools for maintaining personal health," said panelist Dr. Alfred Tallia, Professor and Chair of Family Medicine and Community Health at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. "With diabetes and obesity steadily on the rise, there's no better time to spread awareness about the physical benefits of wellness programs."
Moderated by Bloomberg Businessweek Senior Editor Diane Brady, the panel also featured executives from ADP ®, a leading provider of employee benefits administration services, and The Vitality Group, a global actuarial-based wellness program provider.ADP and The Vitality Group recently announced a partnership to help midsized companies control healthcare costs with the ADP Vitality Wellness Program, an incentive-based wellness offering that motivates employees to make healthier life choices and helps lower individual healthcare costs. The interactive web-based wellness portal features health risk assessments, biometric screenings and personalized wellness plans with recommended goals and activities. As employees achieve plan goals, they earn points toward lowering their health plan contributions. According to Intelisys, a telecom master agency focused exclusively on supporting the channel's top-producing sales agents, Amy Konakis, Senior Manager, Human Resources, said, "We recently purchased the ADP Vitality Wellness Solution because it allows our employees the ability to control their wellness benefits. It encourages employees to be healthy by giving them ideas, information and support. Healthy employees make for a happier, more productive workforce." In the same ADP Research Institute study noted above, 45% of midsized businesses already offer employee wellness programs. The challenge for these companies – and other midsized employers considering wellness programs – is evaluating program performance to drive employee engagement and program effectiveness.