University of Phoenix
Jul 07, 2004
Corporate Wellness Programs
Corporate wellness programs are critical to the fiscal fitness of organizations in the United States today. Corporate wellness programs vary in their methods, but the end goals are the same: decrease medical costs and increase employee productivity. Healthcare costs now consume over 50% of corporate profits and continue to increase at nearly 12% a year (Powell, 1999, p.15). This dramatic rise in costs has caused employers to look for innovative ways to combat the costs. In addition, larger companies now operate with more employees in smaller a space, which creates more stress and allows for ailments to spread faster. Corporate wellness programs focus on a proactive to employee health, as 80% of all ailments are preventable (Prevent a Disease [PD], 2000, 3). I will provide you with an overview as well as, some specific examples of these corporate wellness programs and the results they produce.
Rising insurance costs are one the primary reason employers are investing in corporate wellness programs more than ever before. Companies spent nearly $348 billion on employee healthcare premiums in 1997 according to a study conducted by (Kuttner, 1999). A quick overview of health insurance is necessary to better understand the methodology behind corporate wellness, starting with the fact that all insurance companies exits to make a profit. They review the company's utilization each year (how much they paid out for all employees at the company) and weigh that against premiums collected (how much they took in from employees.) Then they figure out their additional costs to administer the program and a fair profit. So if there are a lot sick people, rates are going to go up a lot. If there are more healthy people the rates will still go up but only 4-5% (to account for inflation). So the company either needs to pass those costs along to the employee...