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ATLANTA—Though a popular topic of discussion among benefit managers and the health care industry, implementation of employee wellness programs by employers has remained largely the same since 2008, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.
Sixty-one percent of employers surveyed said they are offering some form of wellness program this year compared with 60% in 2011 and 58% in 2008, according to a report released over the weekend at the Alexandria, Va.-based association's 2012 Conference & Exposition in Atlanta.
The study, “Employee Benefits: The Employee Benefits Landscape in a Recovering Economy,” evaluated the prevalence of 28 specific wellness program elements among the 550 employers surveyed. The results showed minimal variations in the prevalence of 24 elements during the past five years, including wellness resources and information, smoking cessation efforts, health screening programs, 24-hour nurse hot lines and chronic disease prevention programs.
A handful of wellness initiatives have gained significantly in prevalence, the study indicated. Forty-five percent of employers surveyed currently offer health and lifestyle coaching programs, compared with 33% in 2008.
Rewards and bonuses for completing certain health and wellness programs were included in 35% of employers' wellness designs, up from 23% in 2008.
Health care premium discounts also have also gained in popularity, the study said. Twenty-one percent of companies today offer employees discounts for completing health risk assessments, while 20% offer incentives for abstaining from tobacco products, up from 11% and 8%, respectively, in 2008.
ATLANTA—Employer-sponsored health insurance plans have remained largely unchanged since 2008, though companies are reducing some benefits to stem burgeoning health care costs, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.