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Wellness incentives tied to improved worker health gaining popularity: Survey


Workplace wellness incentives tied to measurable improvements in employees’ health outcomes are growing in popularity among larger employers, according to a new report by Bswift L.L.C.

Twenty-four percent of midsize and large employers — firms with more than 500 benefits-eligible workers — polled in the Chicago-based benefits consulting firm’s “2014 Benefits Survey” indicated that they offer outcomes-based financial incentives to employees who meet or exceed certain biometric thresholds, compared with 15% in 2013 and 13% in 2012.

Another 50% are considering adding outcomes-based incentives to their wellness programs in the near future, according to the survey’s finding.

As chief financial officers and human resources leaders “focus in on wellness program ROI, employee accountability and outcomes-based approaches that tie dollars to employee health improvements will become more commonplace,” Brad Wolfsen, Bswift’s executive director of exchange solutions, said Thursday in a statement accompanying the survey.

Bswift’s survey also found that employee participation rates in wellness programs coupled with outcomes-based incentives generally outpaced overall participation rates.

Nearly 40% of employers offering wellness programs with outcomes-based incentives of $1,000 or more per employee saw participation rates of at least 75%, compared with just 17% of employers overall, the survey said.