Friday, December 19, 2014

More Evidence Mounts: Corporate Wellness Programs Don't Save Money - Published ROI Pitches 'Rarely' Met

This is from Bill Leonard writing at SHRM:
The evidence is pretty conclusive that wellness programs with clinically driven components that rely on biometric screening do not provide the returns and cost reductions that employers have been promised for years,” said Vik Khanna, a health benefits consultant based in St. Louis and co-author of the e-book Surviving Workplace Wellness (THCB Press, 2014). “If you look at the Fortune 1,000 companies that have made biometric and clinical screening a big part of their wellness plans, the numbers simply do not justify the cost. The return on investment for these type programs just isn’t there, and the impact on improving the overall wellness of program participants has been negligible.” 
Khanna contends that biometric screenings such as checking cholesterol levels and blood pressure identify health risks and conditions that typically affect older workers. “So, employers end up spending a lot of money on these screens upfront for very little immediate result,” he said. “Most of the issues that these tests screen for are conditions that primarily affect people who are in their 60s or 70s. Therefore, the actual cost impact of these chronic conditions is delayed or won’t be felt at all as workers move on to other jobs.” 
The goals of most corporate wellness plans that use clinical screenings are to moderate or change employee behaviors and to help workers develop healthier lifestyles. However, sources familiar with this issue agree that these goals are rarely met. 
“If the objective is to change employee behavior, then a biometric screening is a pretty ineffective way to do it”....