In these tough economic times, many companies are moving outsourced benefits functions back in-house.
For the most part, however, wellness programs have remained an outsourced service. Three reasons:
- Experience. The outsourced vendors are the ones who have the expertise, know how to administer the plan, and know how to communicate it to your employees.
- Employee trust. Many times an employee will be much more candid with a wellness coach about his or her health and wellness problems and fears than they’d be with someone who’s a representative of the company, and
- Legal protection. Outsourcing wellness helps insulate you from later claims that the company disciplined an employee due to health risk factors. When you outsource, your company can prove it wasn’t privy to the details of employees’ confidential medical information.
Are there any employers for whom it makes sense to keep the wellness program in-house? Yes. Hospital systems are the most common candidates for in-house administration.
In this work setting, there may already be internal wellness people and they might be very, very good at what they do. In addition, there’s already a well-defined system in place for protecting people’s private health information, and employees are familiar with HIPAA’s disclosure rules.