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Workplace wellness programs save money in the long-term: study

September 2, 2010

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Workplace wellness programs can provide companies with significant long-term savings, according to a study of a Midwest utility company conducted by the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The study is one of the only longitudinal studies focused on wellness, according to a university press release.

"One of the advantages of the study is it shows that a sustainable program will give you savings," said Dee Edington, director of the U-M Health Management Research Center and principal investigator. "Previous studies looked at programs that are short and intense and cover the same people."

Over nine years, the company spent $7.3 million on wellness programs, which yielded $12.1 million in savings. The study took into account a number of costs, including indirect costs of implementing wellness programs such as recruitment and the cost of changing menus.

Overall, the program cost the employer $100 per employee. The cost of lost work time, workers' compensation, and pharmacy and medical expenses among employees who participated each year increased by $96, compared with a $355 increase among employees who never participated.



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