Here’s a benchmark for you: Recent research on wellness programs from Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health reveals employers will have spent an average of $693 per employee on wellness-based incentives in 2015, up from $594 in 2014 and $430 five years ago.
The survey is the latest in a series Fidelity and NBGH have conducted since 2009 to analyze the growth and design of corporate health improvement programs, which are designed to help employers manage costs and improve productivity by creating a healthier workforce.
Companies continue to offer incentives …
As the design of wellness programs evolves, employers are increasingly using incentives, such as cash, gift cards, reduced health care premiums or a contribution to a health care account, to encourage employees to participate. At the same time, the use of disincentives among employers for not participating in these plans is decreasing.
The three most popular incentive-based health improvement programs for 2015 are biometric screenings (72% of employers plan to offer this program), health risk assessments (70%), and physical activity programs (54%). Among the top three, only 6% plan to use disincentives for not taking a health risk assessment, and 5% will use disincentives for not getting a biometric screening (down from 11% and 12%, respectively). No employers plan to use disincentives for not participating in physical activity programs, although 17% of employers continue to attach disincentives for not participating in smoking cessation programs.
… but many not earning their full amount
Many employees aren’t taking full advantage of these programs and earning all of their incentives. Fewer than half (47%) of employees earned their full incentive amount in 2014, while 26% earned a partial amount. Together, this translates into millions of dollars of unclaimed incentives.