Thursday, July 09, 2020

In Brief: Wellness Incentives; CDHP Power; New Health Strategies

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A recent survey by the Society of Human Resource Management found that 61 percent of companies are offering some sort of wellness initiative this year, up only slightly from 58 percent in 2008. Although wellness adoption by employers seems to have leveled off in the past few years, the elements of the programs have changed. For instance, 45 percent of polled employers said their program includes health and lifestyle coaching, compared with 33 percent in 2008.

Consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) can play a major role in persuading employees to adopt healthier lifestyles and save health care dollars, according to a new analysis by the Health Care Service Corp. The study found that CDHP enrollees were four times more likely to take advantage of preventive services and 10 percent more likely to fill their prescriptions with generics.

Companies are seeking alternate health coverage offerings in the face of a shaky economy and the potential impact of the health care reform law, according to a new report by J.D. Power and Associates. The study found that employers are considering such options as defined contributions, vouchers and exchange purchasing in an effort to control spiraling health care costs. Employers, however, seem committed overall to continuing to offer health benefits. The study found that only 13 percent of fully insured employers and 14 percent of self-insured companies said they probably or definitely will not offer employer-sponsored benefits in the future.

Employees fail to fully grasp the details of target-date funds (TDFs) in their retirement accounts, according to a recent report by the Securities and Exchange Commission. More than half (54 percent) of polled investors don't understand that different funds with the same target date may hold vastly different investments, the study found. Also, only 36 percent realized that TDFs do not provide guaranteed income in retirement.

Fewer employers are offering a company match to their retirement benefits, a new study by the Society for Human Resource Management finds. About two-thirds of companies currently match their employees' contributions today, compared with 75 percent in 2008.

Technology has spawned an increase in work/life balance among U.S. workers over the past three decades, according to a Workplace Options study. Forty-three percent of respondents said they've seen an increase in work/life benefits and access to professional development in their current job compared with their first-time job. Also, 28 percent said their current company has increased work/life benefits in the past five years despite the rough economy.

A new report by Ragan Communications and Qumu finds that nearly 82 percent of corporate communicators say they have trouble communicating with co-workers when they are out of the office. However, 77 percent say they expect mobile technology would increase efficiency. The study also found that respondents preferred video over nonvideo for companywide or department meetings.

Having trouble figuring the return on investment (ROI) from your wellness program? A report by HRmorning suggests examining these five factors:

  • Sick days
  • Stress
  • Presenteeism
  • Health care utilization
  • Employee satisfaction

A solid program will decrease the first four of the above items and bump up the last, the report noted. The report noted that a $3 to $4 return for every $1 spent on wellness is a common benchmark for wellness ROI.

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