Monday, March 19, 2018

Yet Another Study: Wellness Programs Are Not Generating Medical Savings

The Affordable Care Act required the CMS conduct an independent evaluation of wellness programs that targeted various health conditions experienced by Medicare beneficiaries, and that study found no evidence of cost savings.

"Utilization and expenditures actually increased among (chronic-care management) program participants," the report said.

The findings are based on spending data for Medicare enrollees in fall prevention, weight loss and chronic care initiatives. The CMS followed beneficiaries one year after they joined a wellness program.

The results mirror those found in the corporate world, where companies are increasingly funding wellness programs meant to improve employees' health.

Corporate wellness spending hit $8 billion in 2016, up from $1 billion in 2011, according to researchers The Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Researchers have also found that these efforts have aided in employee retention, but not changes in employee behavior or cuts in healthcare spending. ...