The investment value of wellness programs and their ability to lower healthcare costs is a topic that creates plenty of discussion for companies that have started employee wellness initiatives, as well as businesses that are considering a wellness program.
While there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to determining the return on investment (or “ROI”) for every workplace, there are some tested truths out there.
- You have to spend money to save money. While well-run employee wellness programs have been proven to reduce healthcare costs, you have to invest in those programs first. The good news is that these investments pan out. A study out Harvard Medical School found that for every dollar spent on wellness programs, medical costs fall by three dollars, and often by more. A 3:1 ratio is in your favor.
- Put employees in the driver seat. Programs that “encourage employees to take an active role in their health management” preform best. Kenneth Thorpe, Chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, argues that these programs are natural winners because they enable employees to “better understand how lifestyle factors affect their health status” and to take charge.
- Some services will become more popular. With wellness programs in place, it’s common to spend more on prescriptions and outpatient services instead of hospitalizations, for example. These newly ‘popular’ programs then lead to huge savings.
Companies across the country and right here in Richmond have seen genuine savings in healthcare costs because they’ve prioritized wellness programs that encourage active living. Some programs save more than others and some see results faster than others. So, having leadership within your company that’s attentive to evolving your programs as you go, to find the initiatives that work best for you, is essential.
Active RVA’s workplace certification program can help. We host quarterly best practice sharing sessions and have supported over 40 workplaces around the region to go the extra mile in making their companies active, healthy communities.