The rising cost of health care and it’s affect on the bottom line of corporations across America is a major concern for today’s leaders. Long outdated is the model of focusing treatment and resources on those who are already sick or disabled. We are now facing trends of shrinking margins, the recent health care bill and a lack of productivity due to absenteeism and the rising cost of treatment.
An increasing number of corporations are taking a proactive approach to increasing costs by providing wellness programs as a part of their employee benefit package. Research shows that corporations who provide healthy choices and provide employee wellness programs are seeing long term savings in terms of sick time disability and other health care costs. Companies that have adopted, and implemented an effective wellness culture are seeing a happier, more productive workplace.
There are numerous approaches and components available to employers with measurable outcomes. Each program must be individualized for your organization, and all options must be carefully analyzed to find a best fit for specific and long term goals and objectives. An article entitled One Wellness Program Doesn’t Fit All Businesses, found that the key to a successful wellness program is developing a customized program that meets the individual goals and needs of each individual organization.
In the following few pages we will examine the problems of rising health care more closely, look at the research, and propose a solution that will benefit both the organization as well as the employee.
Today employers are finding themselves staring at a major fork in the road. With the cost of Health Care increasing at a rate of 15% annually, company profitability and long term survival are in jeopardy. Studies have indicated that the rapidly increasing cost of health benefits is the single largest expense line on a company’s profit and loss statement. These increases are becoming harder to sustain at any level.
Only one in twenty adults regularly engage in the top three healthy lifestyle behaviors.
* Well Balanced Nutrition* Get at least 7 hours of sleep
* Regular Exercise
0ver 67% of the American population is now considered overweight or obese. This means that there are close to 100 million Americans that are obese! Studies are also predicting that by 2012 the percentages will reach 75%. Regardless of age, gender, or race the number of overweight and obese Americans is increasing faster than they are decreasing. Since 1980 the prevalence of overweight people has increased from nearly 15% to 34%+. During the same time span obesity has skyrocketed from 15% to over 67%. From 1988 to 2002 the prevalence of extreme obesity has increased from 3% to 5%.
Research has shown that as weight increases to reach the levels referred to as "overweight" and "obese," the risks for the following conditions also increases:• Coronary heart disease
• Type 2 diabetes
• Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
• High blood cholesterol
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)• Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
• Liver and Gallbladder disease
• Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
• Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
• Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)
Higher grades of obesity are associated with excess mortality, primarily from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Wellness programs that improve social and physical environments for healthful eating and physical activity are great preventive strategies for a healthy environment. This equates to healthier, more productive employees as well as a healthy bottom line.
The Research, Statistics and Costs
When researching the benefits of a wellness program it’s good to investigate some of the data.
Consider the following:
* According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the typical American diet is responsible for most of the preventable diseases, including 90% of diabetes, 80% of heart disease, and 70% of colon cancer.
* The CDC also reports that less than 16% of adults engage in regular physical activity, while over 60% report getting virtually no regular exercise.
* According to the Wall Street Journal the 15 most expensive diseases account for 43% to 61% of health care spending growth from 1987 to 2000. The four costliest conditions are heart disease, mental disorder, pulmonary disorders, and cancer account for most of the increase.
* The American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that, employers who invest in worksite health promotion programs can see a return of $2-$10 for every dollar invested over a 2-5 year period. Documented savings are a combination of lower medical costs, absenteeism, worker’s comp claims, short-term disability and presenteeism.
* A review of 32 studies of corporate wellness programs found claims costs were reduced by 27.8%, physician visits declined 16.5%, hospital admissions declined 62.5%, disability costs declined 34.4%, and incidence of injury declined 24.8% after a corporate wellness program was instituted.
* Johnson & Johnson reported average annual savings of $8.5 million during 4 years when 18,331 employees participated in a health and wellness program at work.
* A separate study of the same group showed reductions in tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low dietary fiber intake and poor motor vehicle safety practices.
* Studies show that employees who utilized an employee fitness center gained both physical and psychological benefits: 64% reported an improvement in morale, 70% reported improved job satisfaction, 66% reported improved work productivity, 83% reported improved energy levels, 76% reported an improvement in stress management, and 70% reported an increase in attentiveness at work.
* Employers currently spend more than $390 billion per year on employee health insurance, with annual health care cost increases significantly exceeding the overall rate of inflation.
* The Wall Street Journal, states health care costs per capita will reach $7,500 this year (2008), more than double the $3,470 per person in 1993.
* The rate of inflation in this arena continues to grow at an unsustainable annual rate of 8-14%.
* National data has shown that employee turnover ranges between 20-25% for firms of 1,000 or more employees.
* The actual dollar cost of turnover varies based on a variety of factors, but estimates range from $25,000 per individual and a range of 75% to 150% of an employee’s annual salary.
* In a study of 370,000 employees, Goetzel et al found that presenteeism losses accounted for the majority of per person annual total costs for 9 out of the top 10 most expensive health conditions, with only heart disease having the majority of total costs attributed to medical claims. Other notable factors include:
* Unapproved absenteeism
* Lack of productivity
* Increased turnover
* Decrease in customer service* A Duke University study involving 11,700 individuals, tracked the increased costs tied to BMI (Body Mass Index).
* Normal BMI $7,500
* Overweight $13,300* Mildly Obese $19,000
* Moderately Obese $23,000
* Severely Obese $51,000
* It must be noted that this “overweight” category (excluding all obese levels), represent well over 30% of the entire population, comprising an immense cost to employers.
The Graphs above clearly show that its not just the obese and moderately obese that need attention.
* Research has also shown that lack of exercise is a major contributor to serious health conditions including but not limited to osteoporosis, stroke, and mental health conditions.
* Reduction in health care costs by 20-55%
* Decrease in short-term sick leave by as much as 32% (Ceridian Prop ROI Tool, 2003)
* A savings of between $3 and $6 for every $1 invested in wellness (U.S. CDC)
* Drop in work comp and disability by as much as 30%
* Enhanced recruitment and retention for all positions
* Examples of companies that have pursued a model of wellness are expansive and growing quickly. 11% of companies have full-fledged wellness programs as part of their employee benefits, and an additional 8% plan to add wellness in the next 12 months.
* Successful programs include Bank of America, Pacific Bell, Coca Cola, Prudential, DuPont, and Johnson & Johnson.
This data can seem overwhelming; however, it should also bring solace to corporations who currently have, or are now considering implementing a comprehensive wellness program. The bottom line will reflect efforts across all ranges of employees regardless of the individual’s Body Mass Index. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person's weight and height. BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.
When considering a corporate wellness program, keep in mind that it is far better, and less expensive, to prevent employee health problems than to treat them after they occur. It is evident that past attempts to control health related costs have failed and stand to drastically increase in the next few years. Because of the threat of increased expenses, employers sink time and money in a one size fits all programs. A comprehensive wellness program needs to be tailored to fit each individual employee regardless of health issues, BMI, goals and limitations.
Keep the following in mind when selecting an addition to your wellness program:
* Is this customizable to the needs of the few or the majority of your employees, and does it meet their individual needs and goals?
* Fat loss
* Firming and toning
* Muscle gain
* Cholesterol reduction
* Thyroid issues
* Varieties of nutrition sensitivities
* Event specific training and nutrition
* Professional consultation
* And the list goes on…
* Who can use the services provided?
* Are results measurable and attainable?
* Can you at any time get objective data?
* What is provided by the organization?
* Customized programs based on employees needs, wants and goals
* Resistance training
* Professional assistance on a weekly basis and as needed
* How time consuming is the process for you and your team?
* What are the costs?
* Efficiency of programs and services
* Track record and history
* Ongoing educational seminars
* Wellness newsletters
Keeping the above considerations in mind, your wellness team will be able to identify the organization that will best suit your needs and goals in designing, or adjusting, your wellness program.
While the information that exists regarding wellness programs is overwhelming and difficult to sift through; the statistics speak for themselves. Employers who do not consider a high quality wellness program face an increase of 10-15% in direct costs related to rising health plan premiums; not to mention all of the indirect costs related to an unhealthy workforce. Numerous corporations have implemented successful wellness programs and have seen dramatic results in the increased health and productivity of their employees, as well as reduced costs associated with absenteeism and health care.
Total Health & Fitness is a team of fitness and nutrition professionals. We provide the finest quality personalized nutrition and fitness programs. We offer individualized programs tailored to the specific needs of our clients. Your employees will receive the finest programs and world class service by our staff. We use sound scientific guidelines to meet the needs of our clients.
We offer individualized:
o Wellness seminars
o Body fat analysis
o Fitness assessments
o Nutrition, cardio, weight training and supplementation programs
o Individualized accountability
o Progress tracking
o Do it yourself programs
o Online consultations
o Phone consultations
o One on One consultations
o Goal setting
o Encouragement and motivation
We focus on improving not only the health of your employees but helping them change their lifestyles.
We offer affordable options regardless of budget or needs. You owe it to your workforce, as well as to your bottom line, to take a closer look. You won’t be disappointed!
To schedule a meeting please call or email Mike at Total Health & Fitness 801-244-4985 firstname.lastname@example.org