Every year, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) releases their Employer Health Benefits Survey, which provides current information about employer-sponsored health benefits. This year’s report is full of important findings, from increases in health insurance premiums to changes in employer contributions and growing use of new programs like telemedicine. Included in the report is information pertaining to employee health and wellness programs.
Most notably, 82% of large employers (those with more than 200 employees) offer some type of employee wellness program that helps workers identify health risks and unhealthy behaviors as well as improve their lifestyles. Among large firms offering an employee wellness program, 35% offer employees an incentive to participate in or complete the program.
Among large firms with any type of incentive, 15% have a maximum incentive of $150 or less; 39% have a maximum incentive between $151 and $500; 21% have a maximum incentive between $501 and $1,000; 19% have a maximum incentive between $1,001 and $2,000; and 6% have a maximum incentive of more than $2,000.
This information is valuable to employers currently looking to offer significant incentives as well as those that already do. It serves a good benchmark for program comparison. With the maximum incentive between $151 and $500 being the category that clearly is the most popular, employers looking for competitive wellness incentives can use this guidance as a starting place. Since each employer and culture of health is different, it is not surprising to see such a wide distribution amongst maximum incentives.
The report also showed that health risk assessments (HRAs) and biometric screenings are still popular, with 62% and 50% of large firms, respectively, offering them to employees. In regard to incentives, 51% and 60% of large firms offering HRAs and biometric screenings, respectively, also provided incentives for employees to complete them. With the new regulatory environment, it is likely to see the number of employers removing incentives for these wellness services to decrease and/or the number of employers offering a non-clinical alternative to increase. Regardless, employers should not be engaging in these types of services for employee wellness programs.