Wellness. The healthcare buzzword that is popping up everywhere. While “wellness” may conjure up images of serene yogis and vegan smoothies, the term has made the leap from Instagram trend to a major topic in the healthcare industry. In particular, wellness programs are becoming a larger part of the healthcare landscape. But are these programs actually helpful? Or is the trend of wellness in the healthcare industry just the latest fad?
What Does Wellness Look Like in the Healthcare Industry?
What is this oh-so-trendy wellness program? A wellness program is a program, usually offered through the workplace, that is intended to improve and promote general health and fitness. Some insurance plans also offer wellness programs.
These programs allow employers to offer benefit discounts, cash rewards, and other incentives for participation. Popular wellness initiatives that many of these programs are founded on include weight loss programs, preventative health screenings, and programs to encourage individuals to stop smoking.
The concept of wellness in the healthcare industry is more than just a trend, wellness has transcended to the level of a social movement. Consumers across industries place an emphasis on wellness in all areas. A holistic approach to health is the latest fashion: people are taking more fitness classes, there is an increased awareness of mental health concerns, and current trends in diet are all geared towards a stripped down, back-to-basics version of health.
The Numbers Behind Wellness in the Healthcare Industry
More and more research is finding that unhealthy behaviors and the elevated health risks they subsequently present are directly related to higher healthcare costs.
Take a look at some hard numbers:
- 7% of healthcare costs are caused by physical inactivity
- Smoking-related healthcare costs exceed $170 billion in the U.S. for medical care and $156 billion in lost productivity
- 7% of healthcare costs are caused by hypertension
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in one of their many studies, compared the healthcare costs between smokers and non-smokers. That difference came out to $2,056 per person per year. How about a $1,313 yearly difference between those who are physically active and those who are not?
The Advantage of Addressing Wellness in Health Benefits
How can a workplace wellness program be leveraged to combat these costs? It all comes down to comprehensive wellness that targets unhealthy behaviors. Programs that specifically target health risk habits and employ effective strategies in changing those behaviors will improve overall employee health, thus reducing those elevated risks and potential costs. More and more employers are embracing the concept of worksite wellness programs intended to encourage healthy behaviors among their employees.
In the arena of bids on government contracts, small numbers make a big impact. It’s in the interest of the government contractor to bring costs down in all areas. Minimizing your healthcare expenditure means lower bids. Increasing your overall employee wellness means a decrease in absenteeism, medical expenses, and workers compensation claims. The trend of wellness in the healthcare industry, and the trending numbers for how wellness impacts the bottom line, is a bandwagon all employers should be jumping on!
Boon has been building better benefits for more than 35 years. We strive to provide competitive benefits that meet the unique needs of the contractor, while serving the health and wellness of their employees. When it comes to wellness in the healthcare industry, we believe in a higher standard.
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