Cash is king when it comes to wellness incentives. Studies show that the almighty dollar is the best motivator for employee participation in wellness activities, followed closely by reductions in health insurance premiums.
On average, it costs employers $8,748 to cover each employee’s health insurance—up 62 percent from five years ago, according to Towers Perrin. A quarter of those costs result from preventable unhealthy and unsafe behaviors.
As a result, more employers are paying workers to change their ways (see box below). One Hewitt Associates study says 30 percent of employers offer incentives to encourage employee participation in wellness programs, up from 21 percent in 2004.
States are also getting into the act. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently proposed that individuals receive health care discounts if they submit to assessments that can determine potential health risks.