<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=765055043683327&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">
New call-to-action

It's Already February; Here's How You Can Help Employees Keep Their New Year's Resolutions

Dr. Christine Maxwell

The new year is often a time for people to pause and reflect on the past year and consider things they’d like to change. This leads to new year’s resolutions, which frequently include health-related outcomes. Right about now, however, resolve to keep these resolutions starts to get a bit shaky.

Some of the most common new year’s resolutions are losing weight, eating better, exercising more, and engaging in more self-care. Anyone who belongs to a fitness club knows that January is the busiest month of the year, but the crowds start to thin out around mid-February, if not sooner. By that point, most people have given up on their new year’s resolutions and the steady gym members get their favorite machines back.

The bad news is the failure to implement the healthy lifestyle changes your employees were working on might have adverse effects on their mindsets. By the end of February, if they’ve abandoned their new year’s resolutions, they’re back to their old habits, picking up fast food at lunch, downing cans of soda, and probably feeling bad about themselves.

The good news is that you can help them turn things around. Maybe they need a little extra encouragement and support to follow through with their new year’s resolutions, both of which you can provide to them with a bit of effort.  

Read More
Topics: Employee Benefits, Culture, cost management, workplace wellness, wellness

Related posts

What's the Difference Between Health and Wellness?

Dr. Christine Maxwell

The terms health and wellness are commonly thrown together, thanks in large part to the prevalence of wellness programs promoting better health in the workplace. It’s easy to see how the two terms could be interchangeable, but the difference between health and wellness is important.

Wellness programs largely focus on the idea of preventative care, which is primarily designed to save policyholders (and employers) money in the long run (though many employers unfortunately sink a ton of time and money into wellness programs without any strategy whatsoever). The general idea is that if people are getting regular checkups, adhering to their prescribed medication regimen, and getting recommended vaccines, health problems can either be completely prevented or at least managed before they become extraordinarily expensive.

Although it’s fair to say that one of the goals of wellness programs is to make people healthier, there is a difference between health and wellness. So let’s dive into this and why it matters.

Read More
Topics: wellness program, workplace wellness, employee health, wellness, Employee Communications

Related posts

Keeping Your Wellness Program Compliant

Dr. Christine Maxwell

You don’t have to be a health insurance expert to know that healthcare coverage makes up a significant portion of businesses’ operating costs. Looking ahead to next year, Willis Tower Watson predicts the average annual per-employee cost for health insurance will increase 5.3% to $12,850 (up from $12,200 in 2017). Understandably, employers are always looking for ways to get a firmer handle on rising healthcare costs and often turn to wellness programs as a possible solution.   

Three Important Federal Laws That Affect Wellness Plans

Before you launch a wellness program, it’s important to do your homework. Mistakes can be costly for both your employees and your bottom line. One area you should pay particularly close attention to is the intersection of wellness plans and federal law. There are several comprehensive federal statutes that impact workplace wellness plans, so before you put your plan in place, make sure you consult with a legal expert who can help you stay on the right side of the law.

1. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) includes nondiscrimination rules that apply to wellness plans being offered in connection with group health plans. Under HIPAA, workplace wellness programs are divided into two categories: participatory wellness programs and health-contingent wellness programs.  

Read More
Topics: Employee Benefits, employee wellness, wellness program, Compliance, wellness

Related posts

What Cheating on Workplace Wellness Contests Says About the Cheater

David Rook

Wellness programs have been around for decades, and their benefits are well-documented. Research shows they are responsible for a 28 percent reduction in sick days, a 26 percent reduction in health costs, and a 30 percent decrease in workers' compensation and disability management claims. If designed well (e.g. based on population health analytics, etc.), companies can potentially save $5.93 for every dollar invested.

Wellness initiatives and contests have been taken to a new level in recent years, with the emergence of wearable fitness trackers. On the surface, it seems that these trackers would eliminate any tendency to exaggerate activity performance, compared to using manual logs. However, where there's a will, there's a way. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently reported on wellness cheaters. What does cheating on workplace wellness contests say about the cheater?

Read More
Topics: wellness, Employee Engagement, Company Culture

Related posts

Getting a Good Night's Sleep is All the Rage

David Rook

Companies are always looking to improve the quality of life of their employees by using a variety of incentives. To this end, employers are increasingly open to making a number of quality of life allowances, from dogs in the workplace to catering healthier lunchtime meals.

This isn't solely done for the purpose of improving morale and well-being. Employers have noted a strong correlation between employee health and their productivity at work. But can employers start encouraging healthy employee habits outside of their 9-5 purview?

One area of focus for company wellness has been the sleep habits of their employees and how subtle tweaks can have a profound impact on employee productivity.

Read More
Topics: wellness, Company Culture

Related posts

Should Vaping be Encouraged as a Smoking Cessation Tool?

David Rook

Should Vaping be Encouraged as a Smoking Cessation Tool?

A reader of last week’s blog post on vaping asked us if employers should actively promote e-cigarettes in their wellness programs as a smoking cessation tool. This is an excellent question. It’s admittedly tough to ascertain if e-cigarettes are going to be the next major health hazard or the most effective smoking cessation technique ever created. Unfortunately, there’s not a straightforward answer to this question, but we will attempt to answer it as best we can.

What is Vaping?

For the uninitiated, vaping is the act of inhaling atomized liquid, usually nicotine dissolved in propylene glycol plus flavoring and colors. The device used for this activity is called an e-cigarette; a battery-operated device, often shaped like a cigarette, which is designed to deliver nicotine in the form of an inhalable vapor rather than tobacco smoke.

Read More
Topics: Employee Benefits, Compliance, wellness, Legislation

Related posts

E-cigarettes Remain a Dilemma for Employers

David Rook

E-cigarettes Remain a Dilemma for Employers

Electronic cigarettes, or vape pens, don’t contain tobacco and they don’t produce smoke, yet they do contain nicotine, and this has left insurers and employers in a quandary. Should “vapers”, as these people are commonly called, be categorized as smokers, and therefore be penalized with higher insurance rates?

The Categorization Quandary

Despite the growing popularity of vapers (they’ve gotten so popular that even icons like Leonardo DiCaprio are comfortable “vaping” in public), they present a somewhat troublesome gray area to insurance companies. This has left employers wondering if their employees who vape are considered smokers and if so, by whom.

Some businesses have weighed-in on the matter. According to the Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart and UPS, for example, categorize vapers as smokers, and accordingly charge them higher insurance premiums. Cleveland Clinic, which refuses to hire smokers, similarly won't hire e-smokers, while CVS Caremark doesn't allow employees to use e-cigarettes at its corporate campuses. Starbucks bans e-cigarettes for employees and customers; and almost every state has enacted disparate legislation to regulate where e-cigarettes may and may not be used.

Read More
Topics: Employee Benefits, Compliance, wellness, Legislation

Related posts

Participatory vs. Health-Contingent Wellness Programs

David Rook

Participatory vs. Health-Contingent Wellness Programs

If you’re considering implementing a new wellness program, it is important to decide which type of program you wish to offer to your employees. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) divides workplace wellness programs into two categories: participatory workplace wellness programs and health-contingent programs. What are the differences between these two types of programs? And what are the standards employers must meet when designing a wellness program as part of its benefit package for employees?

Participatory Wellness Programs

A participatory wellness program is, by definition, open to any employee who wishes to participate. Some easily recognizable types of participatory programs include employee participation in diagnostic testing and screening; smoking cessation classes and education; reimbursement for gym or wellness center memberships; and programs for health education classes or seminars.

Read More
Topics: Employee Benefits, wellness

Related posts

The Upside of Regular Vision and Dental Exams: Early Warning Signs of Other Health Problems

David Rook

The Upside of Regular Vision and Dental Exams:

Early Warning Signs of Other Health Problems

Can your eye doctor or dentist save your life? It turns out the answer is yes. Taking advantage of employer-offered vision and dental benefits may have unexpected advantages. While the more obvious benefits of eye and dental exams are better vision and good oral health, routine vision and dental exams can also spotlight early warning signs of other health problems. What are some of these health issues, and how are they discovered by your ophthalmologist or dentist?

Read More
Topics: Cost Containment, wellness, Preventative Care

Related posts

Five Key Factors to Measuring Wellness ROI

David Rook

Five Key Factors to Measuring Wellness ROI

As we discussed in our last post, those tasked with the job of overseeing company wellness programs often find it difficult to quantify the success of those programs in a definable way. The problems facing HR departments when tasked with establishing the ROI on wellness are many, from program structures that don’t provide enough trackable data, to the difficulties of measuring intangible successes in terms of money, to the simple fact of limited time, resources, and manpower. These issues are often compounded by unrealistic expectations and a desire for quick results.

Read More
Topics: Cost Containment, wellness

Related posts

Subscribe for New Blog Post Notifications

Most Read

Posts by Topic

Expand all
Free_White_Paper_Employee_Benefits_Branding
Free_White_Paper_Private_Exchange_Employee_Benefits
Free_White_Paper_Employee_Benefits_Branding
Free_White_Paper_Employee_Benefits_Hospitality
Free_White_Paper_Improving_Employee_Benefits_Communications
Free_White_Paper_Employee_Benefits_Construction
Free_White_Paper_Employee_Benefits_Branding