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Author Topic: Employee wellness programs apparently do not work  (Read 426 times)
MillCreek
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« on: April 16, 2019, 08:33:53 AM »

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/04/16/713902890/how-well-do-workplace-wellness-programs-work?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2730614

Earlier studies have shown mixed results, at best, for employee wellness programs.  A larger study, just published in JAMA, does not show that employee health outcomes nor healthcare spending, seemed to benefit from an employer wellness program.
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Quote from: Angel Eyes on August 09, 2018, 01:56:15 AM
You are one lousy risk manager.
Hawkmoon
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2019, 10:08:04 AM »

Where's my shocked face?
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fistful
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2019, 10:46:39 AM »

Is this another one of those cases where people who want to [live a healthier lifestyle] will do so regardless of such programs, and those who don't care don't care?
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DittoHead
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2019, 12:00:45 PM »

If participation is optional and incentives are minimal, I would not expect them to work.

The way my workplace did it is like this: insurance rates usually go up every year. The 1st year of the program your insurance rates stayed the same if you participated in the program and the most basic health screening tests. That was a big incentive to at least get people in the system and identify any major red flags. The next year for your insurance rates to not go up you had to either score really well in the health risk assessment or at least make progress in problem areas. Now it's transitioned to three tiers based off participation/scores and depending on your tier you either pay 15, 20, or 25% of the insurance premiums (or something like that).

Still technically optional but it persuaded more than just the healthy people to participate since it's directly tied to money coming out of your paycheck.
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Hawkmoon
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2019, 12:11:06 PM »

If participation is optional and incentives are minimal, I would not expect them to work.

The way my workplace did it is like this: insurance rates usually go up every year. The 1st year of the program your insurance rates stayed the same if you participated in the program and the most basic health screening tests. That was a big incentive to at least get people in the system and identify any major red flags. The next year for your insurance rates to not go up you had to either score really well in the health risk assessment or at least make progress in problem areas. Now it's transitioned to three tiers based off participation/scores and depending on your tier you either pay 15, 20, or 25% of the insurance premiums (or something like that).

Still technically optional but it persuaded more than just the healthy people to participate since it's directly tied to money coming out of your paycheck.

I think you missed the point of the article ... and the study. The study showed that, for actual participants who believed and reported that they had "improvements" in their health, there were in reality no quantifiable improvements in any of several metrics.
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DittoHead
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2019, 12:35:45 PM »

I think you missed the point of the article ... and the study. The study showed that, for actual participants who believed and reported that they had "improvements" in their health, there were in reality no quantifiable improvements in any of several metrics.

Incentives were minimal, not tied to the quantifiable metrics that are apparently considered important, and 18 months is a short window.
I wouldn't have expected significant improvements from that. Tell someone that they're going to get $75 less in every paycheck unless they drop a few pounds and they put in a little more effort to cut back on the donuts.
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MechAg94
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2019, 02:35:49 PM »

Incentives were minimal, not tied to the quantifiable metrics that are apparently considered important, and 18 months is a short window.
I wouldn't have expected significant improvements from that. Tell someone that they're going to get $75 less in every paycheck unless they drop a few pounds and they put in a little more effort to cut back on the donuts.
Or it may be that dropping just a few pounds or eating a few less donuts doesn't really impact health care spending or overall health for the individual as much as they would like it to.  What are the things that really impact year to year health spending?
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2019, 05:26:24 AM »

If the "wellness program" at a friend's job is any indication, no wonder they don't work. It consists of the company having a group gym membership at a place that is a gym in name only. In reality it's a storage building some dude filled with very used and semi-home made workout equipment in one of the nastiest parts of town. Not somewhere decent folk have any desire to be, especially early mornings or late evenings. Why, you ask? Cheapest place they could find. Pure dollar signs.

Brad
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It's all about the pancakes, people.
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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2019, 05:42:27 AM »

Or it may be that dropping just a few pounds or eating a few less donuts doesn't really impact health care spending or overall health for the individual as much as they would like it to.  What are the things that really impact year to year health spending?

I would suspect age is a big one, but obviously they can't do much to control that. Nicotine use is probably the most significant one that can be easily tested for and changed. Beyond that I'm guessing it's obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels but I'm not a doctor or healthcare expert.
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MillCreek
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2019, 06:04:42 AM »

What are the things that really impact year to year health spending?

Speaking as someone working in healthcare, it is cardiovascular disease, smoking, alcohol, diabetes, obesity, blood pressure, cancer, arthritis, stroke, asthma, and Alzheimer's, when you account for direct medical costs plus lost productivity.  You will see that a significant chunk of the healthcare spending is basically lifestyle issues caused by eating, drinking, smoking and lack of activity, and this is where the employee wellness programs are trying to move the needle.
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MillCreek
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Quote from: Angel Eyes on August 09, 2018, 01:56:15 AM
You are one lousy risk manager.
Jamisjockey
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2019, 09:26:30 AM »

Shocker.  Most are only enacted to satisfy tax break requirements.
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