Wellness benefits are simple to complex things offered by an employer to its employees to encourage healthy behavior that may improve overall health. They may be offered in the context of medical insurance, which might have a wellness program attached to it that subscribing employees could access. Alternately companies may choose to add certain amenities to the workplace in order to help employees pursue healthier lifestyles or they might provide access to nutritional, exercise or mental health counseling on a short-term basis. Another way in which the term wellness benefits could be understood is as incentives when employees meet certain health objectives. Many employers feel that that these benefits serve employees and the company, because they reduce things like medical insurance costs and sick time, and because they may result in a healthier workforce.
It’s a growing trend for health insurance companies to have benefits of some kind to promote wellness. These could include providing informational materials to subscribers on subjects like healthy diet, cardiovascular health, or quitting tobacco use. Some insurance companies will pay for employees to participate in programs designed to increase health like tobacco subsistence programs, and others merely offer information and advice, that if subscribers follow, is likely to assist in healthier living. Sometimes encouraging employees to get regular scans or physical exams at certain ages is thought of as part of wellness benefits, since this gives doctors the opportunity to help patients that have any markers or risks for diseases.
Obviously, health insurance led programs confer benefits in several ways. For insurers, they may reduce total cost of claims paid, which maximizes profits. This assists employers too, because a healthier workforce translates to less expensive premiums. Additionally, employees may be served by these programs because by following the advice given by insurance companies on how to lead more healthful lives, they may truly improve health.
Of course, some people won’t read insurance sites to find out how to be healthy, and this has led many companies to pursue offering benefits promoting wellness on a much more direct level. Having access to a free gym and wellness classes on site at the company may be easier for a lot of people. It’s an ever-present reminder that part of healthful living means working out regularly. With no fees to pay and easy access before or after work or during lunch hour, this is one benefit that can prove very helpful, especially if the gym is staffed by knowledgeable trainers who can watch over workers so they don’t get injured. A cafeteria on a worksite with lots of nutritious food may provide the same kinds of benefits.
Employers may also encourage employees to access wellness benefits through incentive based programs. These could include financial rewards or prizes for participating in wellness activities like training for a marathon or quitting smoking. When offered in context of many onsite benefits, great encouragement can exist for the employee to participate.
There are wellness benefits that might prove of use including things like free access to short term mental health, drug, or financial counseling, through programs like the Employee Assistance Program. These tend to be prepaid by an employer so they require no copayments. Moreover they’re usually offered through whatever health insurance coverage is available to the employee. They may not fix bigger problems but they’re often a good first stop for advice on how to deal with life’s stressors or for how to tackle a specific issue.
Many ways exist in which wellness benefits can be defined, but it seems that more dramatic gestures by companies don’t go unappreciated by their employees. Not only can these programs contribute to greater health, but they can also make employees feel less like part of an impersonal workforce. When a business makes a strong statement that it cares about the health and welfare of its employees, workers may respond not only by getting healthier but also by evolving stronger loyalty to their companies.