The organizations with the most cost-efficient health plans are the ones that streamline the services employees receive for both their physical and mental health.
As a long-term goal, having your general health plan, employee assistance program (EAP) and wellness program communicating regularly with one another about employees’ treatments is the single best way to reduce redundant or contradictory treatments, eliminate unnecessary claims and improve the quality of the plans for which you pay.
Let’s look at the relationship between your wellness program and your EAP to illustrate the importance of attacking health costs cross a broad front.
You can start a wellness program with a health risk assessment and then, if appropriate, roll out a smoking cessation program or a weight loss program.
But ultimately you want to make sure that your wellness vendor works in conjunction with your EAP vendor.
Here’s why: It’s very common for an employee to contact the EAP because the person feels depressed about his or her weight. What you want is for the EAP vendor to treat the employee’s depression and behavioral issues, plus you want the EAP to refer the employee to the wellness program to deal with the root cause of the problem – obesity.
The same thing goes with the relationship your wellness plan and your workers’ comp vendor, STD and LTD vendors, rehab people, and/or disease managers. You want all them talking to – and sharing data with – each other. If they’re not, it’s costing you money.
In general, the employers who achieve the greatest cost savings through their wellness programs are the ones who overlap wellness with behavioral and occupational health issues.