Worker health and wellness

Workers not earning all available wellness incentives: report

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Washington – Employers are spending more on wellness programs to improve worker health, but workers are not taking advantage of millions in potential savings, according to the results of a survey from Fidelity Investments and the non-profit organization National Business Group on Health.

Employers use incentives – such as lowered health care premiums and cash – to entice workers to participate in wellness programs. Of the more than 120 companies surveyed, 79 percent offered wellness programs in 2014. However, fewer than half of workers in the survey (47 percent) had earned a full incentive for participating in the programs.

The most common wellness programs employers intend to incentivize in 2015 are biometric screenings (72 percent), health risk assessments (70 percent) and physical activity programs (54 percent), according to the survey.

Fewer organizations are enforcing penalties for workers who do not participate in the programs, the survey notes. These “disincentive” programs are under scrutiny by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which has filed suit against some employers, claiming their wellness programs discriminate. In contrast, some stakeholders allege that EEOC’s actions discourage wellness program implementation.