If employee wellness wasn’t a top priority before health reform was passed, it probably is now.
Reason: 78% of employers agree that the increased costs associated with the passage of healthcare reform make it more important than ever to keep employees healthy, according to a recent study of 1,300 employers by the Midwest Business Group on Health and Business Insurance.
As a result of the reform law, more companies expect to beef up their wellness programs.
Sixty percent of employers said they plan to expand their wellness programs over the next few years because of a provision in the reform law.
Starting in 2014, the provision will let companies provide wellness program rewards to participants worth up to 30% of the cost of individual health coverage (the current limit is 20%). The provision also provides the opportunity for an increase to 50%, at the discretion of the Secretaries of Labor and Health and Human Services.
And when it comes to wellness programs themselves, most companies plan to focus their energies on employees’ physical well-being.
But experts warn employers not to overlook one key area: employees’ financial health.
There’s plenty of research that links financial stress with physical illnesses such as insomnia, chronic headaches, depression, etc.
So for the most effective results, consider rolling out a wellness program that focuses on employees’ physical and financial health.
Some ideas to consider:
- Bringing in a financial expert to provide free investment advice to employees, as well as answer their questions
- Holding training sessions with workers on the basics of budgeting and tracking expenses, and
- Providing resources for employees on credit and debt management.
Do you think it’s important to include financial education programs in employers’ overall wellness strategies? Share your opinions in the Comments Box below.