A recent study published in the January Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, reaffirmed that employers can indeed see significant savings from wellness programs that focus on these seven risk factors:
- physical inactivity
- low fruit and vegetable intake
- high blood pressure
- alcohol abuse, and
- high cholesterol.
The study, Medical Care Savings From Workplace Wellness Programs: What Is a Realistic Savings Potential?, combined data from two major studies to estimate possible health savings from wellness programs.
It found if the risk factors above were lowered to “theoretical minimums,” health care expenses could be lowered by an average of 18.4% per worker annually — or about $650.
For retirees and employees nearing retirement, wellness programs can slash health costs by as much as 28% per person.
The study does caution, however, that the maximum savings will not be achieved immediately.
“Medical care savings from workplace wellness programs will increase with time given that more eligible wellness program members participate, effective control of heightened risk factors improves, and greater risk reversal can be achieved,” said Dr. Jonathan P. Dugas, who — along with two of his colleagues — conducted the study.