Two years ago my employer implemented a program in which they’d add a monthly wellness credit to your paycheck in return for filling out a health questionnaire during open enrollment. It wasn’t a lot of money ($10/month), but it certainly did add up, and it was well worth the fifteen minutes or so that it took to fill out the questionairre. Last year they increased the requirements slightly, and bumped up the reward. And this year they did the same, such that I now have to fill out the questionairre, promise to take steps to improve my health (based on the answers that I gave), and go through a handful of online health-related learning exercises. All in all, it took me about 45 minutes to run through the entire thing — not bad for a $240 payout over the next year (not to mention the potential health benefits). Anyway, the economics of wellness programs such as this fascinate me — $240/year for each employee isn’t exactly chump change, so the payback must be pretty good. Of course, assuming that this program has the desired effect, my employer will benefit both in terms of reducing lost time due to employee illness and reducing the costs associated with health care. While it’s hard for me to imagine that the hoops that I just jumped through will actually end up saving my employer ?$240 in the future, it probably won’t take much for them to at least break even given the high price of medical care.
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