Health Incentives Gain Popularity

Incentives are playing an increasingly important role in encouraging employees to improve their health, according to survey by Aon Hewitt of nearly 800 large and mid-size U.S. employers. Eighty-three percent offer incentives to employees for participating in programs that help them become more aware of their health status. These may include taking a health risk questionnaire or participating in biometric screenings. The following is a breakdown of the incentives that these employees offer:

• 79% offer a reward.
• 64% offer monetary incentives of $50 to $500, and 18% offer monetary incentives of more than $500.
• 16% offer a mix of rewards and consequences.
• 5% have a consequence.

Jim Winkler, chief innovation officer for Health & Benefits at Aon Hewitt said, “Health-risk questionnaires and biometric screenings are the key tools in providing that important information…that links behaviors to action.” Incentives will continue to be a critical part of employers’ health care strategies in the future,” he added.

Aon Hewitt did a separate survey with the National Business Group on Health and The Futures Company. Eighty-six percent of the workers took some action after completing health-risk questionnaire getting suggestions based on their results. Sixty-five percent made at least one lifestyle improvement as a result.

More than half of employers have seen improved health behaviors and/or an increase in employee engagement. Almost half saw an increase in employee morale, satisfaction and/or attitudes, and 44% saw changes in health risks.

The following is true of companies that offer incentives:

• 56% require employees to participate in health programs, comply with medications, or participate in activities like health coaching.
• 24% offer incentives for making progress toward or attaining acceptable ranges for biometric measures such as blood pressure, body mass index, blood sugar and cholesterol. More than two-thirds are considering this approach in the next three to five years.

In the next few years, 58% of employers plan to impose consequences on participants who do not take appropriate actions to improve their health. Thirty-four percent are interested in tying incentives to program designs that require a focus on health 365 days a year. For example, they may offer incentives for completing a progressive physical activity program that increases minutes each quarter, achieving the recommended cardiovascular physical activity of 150 minutes per week.

Stephanie Pronk of Aon Hewitt said, “Employers mainly rely on financial incentives to drive desired activities and behaviors, ranging from building awareness to achieving health outcomes. However, in the near future, these designs will be most successful…when they are linked to an organizational culture that makes it easier for employees to make healthier personal decisions.” For more information, visitwww.aonhewitt.com.

Last Updated 8/2/2017

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