Cost Effective Wellness Strategies for Small Business Employers

Great read on wellness strategies from our partner, United Benefit Advisors (UBA) by Lori Kunkle

Companies like Google®, L.L. Bean®, and Zappos.com® have the ability to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on wellness programs for their employees. They can build state-of-the-art gym facilities, walking trails around the corporate campus, and offer any number of wellness services to benefit their workers, as well as monetary incentives. For the average employer and small business owners, this type of programming is nearly impossible. Small business owners may not have money to spend on these types of wellness programs, but they do recognize the value of investing in the health and wellbeing for their employees. These are shared strategies you can use to offer your employees opportunities to reduce health risks, control health care costs, and improve productivity and overall wellbeing.

Programming

For small business owners looking to offer “voluntary” wellness programs on a limited budget, look no further than your employee benefits packages. Most employees do not utilize their benefits to their full potential. Motivating and incentivizing your employees to use the benefits that are already provided can be a great way to launch a wellness program. Insurance carriers provide preventive screening schedules that can be used to guide your employees to seek regular medical check-ups at no cost to them. Utilizing the schedule can help employees take control of their health and potentially prevent catastrophic health events before they occur.

Several carriers offer great discount programs on top national brands to make living a healthy lifestyle more fun and affordable. Discounts include gym memberships, weight loss programs, tobacco cessation resources, gym apparel and equipment, and other fitness and nutrition resources.

Utilizing local and national resources is also a great way to educate employees on good, healthy behaviors at a limited cost. Organizations such as the American Heart Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control offer free, online education resources and information tool kits. Local organizations may have access to grants that can help offset the costs of tobacco cessation and nutrition programming. Local chapters may even offer onsite lunch and learns and be willing to participate in your company health fair.

For additional trends among wellness programs, download In UBA’s new whitepaper: “Wellness Programs — Good for You & Good for Your Organization.

Incentives

Small business owners do not have to offer large cash prizes in order to motivate employees to participate in the wellness programming. Setting up challenges where individuals or teams compete to earn a top prize can be a great way to utilize the natural competitive side of your employees while offering a supportive culture.

To understand legal requirements for wellness programs, particularly as it relates to incentives, request UBA’s ACA Advisor, “Understanding Wellness Programs and Their Legal Requirements,” which reviews the five most critical questions that wellness program sponsors should ask and work through to determine the obligations of their wellness program under the ACA, HIPAA, ADA, GINA, and ERISA, as well as considerations for wellness programs that involve tobacco use in any way.

Sample Programming

Begin by offering a thoughtfully created program that recognizes the importance of the work-life balance. For example, create a “passport” to health and wellbeing. We suggest including a few of the following activities:

  • Get an annual physical, dental, and vision exam
  • Take advantage of preventative cancer screenings (skin, colonoscopy, mammogram, etc.)
  • Utilize the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Get a flu shot
  • Complete a biometric screening
  • Complete online health coaching on a health topic through the insurance carrier portal
  • Attend a company lunch and learn on a health related topic
  • Participate in an office health challenge (step, weight loss, etc.)
  • Volunteer in your community
  • Participate in a community walk, run, bike event

Employees can have their passport stamped as they visit with providers and participate in organizational events. Wellness Committees have found success in offering raffle tickets for each completed item and offering drawings for wellness-related prizes at a company picnic or end of year holiday party. Additionally, a point value can be used and participants can earn points to be in a drawing for achieving gold, silver or bronze status.

To ensure your program produces real culture change over time, consult these six steps to a successful, sustainable workplace program.

Summary

Small business owners do not have to break the bank to offer their employees great wellness programs. Take a look at what is offered through your current benefits and educate your employees on how to take full advantage of what they offer. Do not be afraid to reach out to local organizations to see what kind of free or low-cost programming is available.

For the latest statistics from the UBA survey examining wellness program design among 19,557 health plans and 11,524 employers, pre-order UBA’s 2016 Health Plan Survey Executive Summary which will be available to the public in late September.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Kunkle, L. (2016 September 15). Cost effective wellness strategies for small business employers. [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://blog.ubabenefits.com/cost-effective-wellness-strategies-for-small-business-employers


Whitepapers: Making Wellness Programs Work, from United Benefit Advisors

Great article from our partner, United Benefit Advisors (UBA) by Bill Olson

UBA Announces New Resources for Employers Covering the Latest Trends and Legal Requirements for Wellness Programs

Two-thirds of employers believe that good benefits increase employee productivity, according to the 2016 United Benefit Advisors Benefits Opinion Survey of employers. Given the ever increasing cost of health care, UBA finds that one of the best long-term cost-containment strategies available to employers today is an effective wellness program that strives to keep low-risk individuals from becoming high-risk, and helps high-risk individuals reduce their need for medical services.

UBA finds that wellness programs have evolved substantially since they first appeared on the market, and today announces a new Whitepaper: Wellness Programs — Good for You & Good for Your Organization, to educate employers about the latest trends in wellness program success.

“Wellness programs were initially tacked on to an employee’s benefits and consisted of just the basics — physical activity, nutrition, and smoking cessation,” says Travis Horne, MBA, and Director of Health & Well-Being at Massachusetts-based UBA Partner Firm, Borislow Insurance.

“But there’s been a shift: the new thought is that it’s more important to target the solution for a client, rather than just putting something fun in place,” says Horne. “Employers are taking the holistic view of the employee so that there is meaningful change. Basically, there are five different elements — physical, financial, workplace, community, and mind/spirit. Some employers may only focus on three, but the majority focus on all five elements in order to create a culture of health & wellbeing, change unhealthy behaviors and develop a sustainable wellness program.”

According to UBA, some of the latest wellness program trends, include:

  • Comprehensive health evaluations and physician verification forms to identify (and provide early interventions to) chronic conditions before they become catastrophic
  • On-site health clinics
  • Wellness committees made up of both healthy and unhealthy employees

In UBA’s new Whitepaper: Wellness Programs — Good for You & Good for Your Organization, readers will learn which aspects of wellness programs are finding the most success and the most critical five steps to making any wellness program work.

Download UBA’s Whitepaper: Wellness Programs — Good for You & Good for Your Organization, athttp://bit.ly/wellness-whitepaper.

Compliance Advisor: Understanding Wellness Programs and their Legal Requirements

One of the main reasons employers are slow to adopt wellness programs is a lack of time and resources, startup costs, and not knowing the legal requirements, finds UBA.

The new Affordable Care Act (ACA) Compliance Advisor paper from UBA, “Understanding Wellness Programs and Their Legal Requirements,” reviews the five most critical questions that wellness program sponsors should ask and work through to determine the obligations of their wellness program under the ACA, HIPAA, ADA, GINA, and ERISA, as well as considerations for wellness programs that involve tobacco use in any way. With over 20 pages of comprehensive guidance, examples and frequently asked questions, this is an invaluable employer resource.

Download the UBA Compliance Advisor, Understanding Wellness Programs and their Legal Requirements at http://bit.ly/wellness-requirements (free registration required).

“Employers are starting to recognize that promoting healthy behavior internally is also a way to educate and change behavior at home and in families,” says Les McPhearson, CEO of UBA. “When it comes to reducing health care premium costs, wellness is one area that employers cannot afford to ignore.”

See the original article Here.

Source:

Olson, B. (2016 September 8). Whitepapers: making wellness programs work, from united benefit advisors. [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://blog.ubabenefits.com/news/whitepapers-making-wellness-programs-work-from-united-benefit-advisors


Employers Improve Bottom Line Through People Power

New white paper explores how employee communications and education save money through talent retention, better productivity and a healthier workforce.

[button color="black" link="http://6.advisoraction.com/l/38202/2014-06-04/bsjh"]Download the FREE Whitepaper[/button]

Fond du Lac and Appleton, Wisconsin, June 4th, 2014 -- For many employers, this scenario is all too familiar: A company starts a wellness program or purchases a stellar benefit in the hopes that they will boost morale, retain top talent and even shrink health insurance costs. Yet the company still ends up with an unhappy and unhealthy workforce that is unproductive and difficult to motivate.

A common reason: Regardless of what rich perk or plan an employer offers, it likely will fizzle if employees either don’t know about it or don’t care. That’s why employee engagement and communication is just as vital as the benefit itself, according to a number of Members of United Benefit Advisors, the nation’s leading alliance of independent employee benefits advisors.

“There’s a direct correlation between employee engagement and a healthier bottom line,” said Scott Smeaton, executive vice president of Hierl Insurance, Inc., of Appleton, Wis. “Employees who are engaged in their work and with their employer tend to be more productive, loyal and reliable. They’re not there to just do a job and go home. They’re genuinely interested and committed to the success of the company they work for and the work they perform.”

In light of the wave of recent layoffs and benefit cuts, strong employee engagement can boost morale now and protect a company’s retention once the economy recovers, according to Bob Recchia, president of California Corporate Benefits in San Diego. “This is an opportunity for employers to begin repairing the relationships and loyalty of employees,” Recchia said. “The employer who recognizes the cost savings and improved productivity that results from higher retention of employees, especially key positions, can potentially avoid the wave of employee exits that are projected as soon as the job market improves.”

To receive the full report, “People Power,” contact Hierl Insurance

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