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Wellness up as employers combat health costs

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

With health care costs rising and Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance efforts in full swing, employers are turning toward wellness programs to counter some of the financial strain, according to the 2015 SHRM Employee Benefits Survey report released in late June by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

“One of the key strategies many employers are using to reduce health care benefits costs is to boost employee health through preventive health and wellness benefits,” the report states. “Compliance with the ACA may be affecting the growing prevalence of these benefits, although steady increases in the cost of health care over the last decade have led organizations to explore health care options that actively involve employees in their health care decisions.”

In fact, wellness programs represent one of the fastest growing employee benefits. The study found that nearly one-half (46%) of organizations that provide health benefits have increased employee participation in preventive health and wellness initiatives, and  45% have “created an organizational culture that promotes health and wellness.”

Top wellness activities

% of employers that offer …

  • On-site flu shots   61%
  • 24-hour nurse line   51%
  • Health/lifestyle coaching   46%
  • Smoking cessation   44%
  • Health screening   43%

Source: 2015 SHRM Employee Benefits Survey

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