Employers Refocus Strategies To Promote
of focusing on health coverage as the exclusive avenue of providing
financial protection against medical costs, employers are starting to
shift to a focus on wellness and prevention, according to the recent
MetLife Annual Employee Benefits Trend Study.
one-fourth (28 percent) of all employers – and nearly half
percent) of companies with 500 or more employees – offer some
type of a wellness program as a workplace benefit, and 43 percent of
employers believe that these programs are highly valued by their
the study reveals that 17 percent of employers offer health insurance
credits for employees following wellness guidelines such as exercise,
nutrition, check-ups and disease screenings.
one-third of employers with 500 or more employees (31 percent) are
offering these wellness credits – up from 25 percent a year
hand, one-in-ten employers (9 percent) and one-in-five (19 percent) of
employers with 500 or more employees say they impose financial
penalties on employees for not following wellness guides.
prevention programs can benefit both employees and employers. Healthy
employees can be more productive and help curb the medical and
disability costs of a working population. In turn, employees’
health impacts their wealth. Taking active steps to improve
health can help mitigate circumstances that can affect a
financial safety net and premature withdrawal of savings," said Dr.
Ronald Leopold, vice president, employer-sponsored benefits, MetLife.
Americans are living longer, there is a greater focus on wellness and
prevention earlier in life. Taking care of oneself during the working
years is an excellent way to mitigate future medical costs.
other tools, such as financial protection products, can work
side-by-side with prevention and wellness initiatives to protect our
fiscal futures and offer peace of mind now and through retirement. This
is how an employer can really deliver on the new culture of health and
financial security," Leopold said.
findings from the MetLife study include:
of employers fund employee assistance programs, up from 25 percent the
prior year. For companies with 500 or more employees, this number has
grown from 46 percent in 2005 to 58 percent in 2006.
of employers – and 34 percent of employers with 500 or more
employees – offer targeted prevention programs.
percent of employers – and 28 percent of employers with 500
or more employees – provide onsite clinics.
percent of employers – and 29 percent of employers with 500
or more employees – offer healthcare advocacy.
MetLife Inc., 200 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10166; (800) 638-5433, www.metlife.com.