Research/studies Worker health and wellness

Wellness program shows ROI on disease management but not lifestyle changes: study

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Arlington, VA – Workplace wellness programs assisting with management of chronic disease may help lower health care costs, but program components encouraging the adoption of healthier lifestyles may not lead to cost savings, according to a study from RAND Corp., a nonprofit research institute.

Researchers examined the experiences of 67,000 workers who, over the course of seven years, participated in one or two components of the wellness program of food and beverage corporation PepsiCo. The program’s disease management component helped reduce employer health care costs by $136 per participant per month, according to a RAND press release, resulting in a 29 percent drop in hospital admissions.

However, the lifestyle management component had no significant effect on health care costs, with participants reporting only a small reduction in absenteeism.

For participants in both components, savings were $160 a month with a 66 percent drop in hospital admissions, the press release states. The average cost savings from participation in one or both components was $30 per month per participant.