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Wellness Programs for Healthy and Happy Employees


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Wellness Programs for Healthy and Happy Employees

  1. 1. Wellness Programs for Healthy and Happy Employees BY
  2. 2. The concept of preventive health and wellness programs offered by Hawaii healthcare organizations is not new. In recent years, however, there has been an increased focus on these programs as our nation's healthcare expenditure is expected to increase to 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2015, and as an emphasis on healthy lifestyles becomes even more pertinent. President Obama himself has articulated a desire to promote public health by requiring coverage of preventive services, like cancer screenings, and even intends to create a new Small Business Health Tax Credit to help small businesses provide affordable health insurance to their employees. These ideas are optimistic in our current economic outlook, and given the waning confidence in the economy making a quick recovery, many small businesses may be looking to modify their health insurance benefits for employees, or are perhaps shopping around for a new policy. To those organizations, a keen focus on the benefits of their policy is absolutely necessary to maintain employee health and productivity, and improve their own bottom line in the face of many hard challenges. Small and large businesses alike are looking for health insurance providers that can be their partners. They are looking for ways policy providers can assist them in keeping employees healthy - because healthy employees are
  3. 3. For those small business - and that may be you - there is hope. A 2008 study measuring the return on investment for employee wellness programs showed that employers could save approximately $1.65 in healthcare expenses for every dollar spent on a comprehensive employee wellness program. The study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM), found that reduced inpatient costs yielded the highest return on investment, in part because of increased use of screenings and medications among employees. This study emphasizes that when looking for a new healthcare policy, small businesses should take a close look at the provider's wellness and preventive programs. Some of the best healthcare providers offer wellness programs like discounted gym memberships, health education and awareness, counseling, flu prevention and even programs to evaluate whether employees can reduce their medication co-pays. Not only do these programs lead to healthier and more productive
  4. 4. Once you've narrowed down your list to a few providers, take into account not just their risk or premiums, but what value-added services they offer. Similar to purchasing a new car, buyers should weigh how the dealer treats them once they've bought the car and driven off the lot. Is the dealer responsive and friendly? Do you call for weeks trying to schedule a maintenance checkup and only reach a recording? Do they take care of your vehicle in a timely and efficient manner? Employees in the same way need periodic "check-ups" on their health to make sure they are performing to the best of their abilities, and a responsive provider of healthcare in Hawaii will prove the most valuable for them and the small business they work for.