Survey measures employer spending on wellness programs

Employers spend an average of 2 percent of their annual health care budget on health improvement programs, according to survey results recently released by the National Business Group on Health in Washington.

An online survey of 121 mid- to large-sized companies conducted between September and October 2009 found most have initiated an average of 21 employer programs focused on wellness, health management and education. Slightly more than half of those companies plan to implement additional programs in 2010.

Some of the more common employee wellness programs offered included employee assistance programs, onsite flu shots, preventive care reminders, and stress management and smoking cessation programs. Incentives to encourage workers to participate in wellness programs were offered at 57 percent of responding companies, most commonly in the form of a reduction in employee health care premiums.

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