A new study by bswift examined how employers across the country are investing their dollars in wellness plan offerings. An employee benefits administration software and services company, they examined 150 companies, ranging from 50 employees to more than 500, in a variety of industries nationwide. Here’s a quick look at their findings.

  • A majority of organizations are offering wellness program components from flu shots to onsite clinics: 100 percent of companies with more than 500 employees offer them and 88 percent of those with fewer than 500 do so.
  • Larger organizations tend to offer incentives more: 68 percent of large organizations (those with more than 500 employees) offered wellness incentives, while only 19 percent of those with fewer than 500 employees did so. HRA and biometric tests remain the cornerstone of wellness programs: 62 percent of large organizations and 48 percent of those with fewer than 500 employees offer biometric testing to employees.
  • Organizations are seeing the value of wellness for dependents: 88 percent of large employers offer wellness programs to dependents and 59 percent of those with fewer than 500 employees offer wellness components to dependents.
  • But biometric testing of dependents remains low: Large and smaller employers were similar in their offering of biometrics to dependents, with 21 percent of large and 19 percent of those with fewer than 500 offering biometrics to dependents.

Top Wellness Plan Offerings
The top wellness plan offerings for employers with more than 500 employees included:

  • Flu shots (86 percent)
  • Health risk assessments (76 percent)
  • Free or first dollar coverage for wellness exams (73 percent)
  • Online health content (72 percent)
  • Health fairs (64 percent)
  • Biometric testing (62 percent)
  • Health activities/challenges/contests (53 percent)

In comparison, employers with fewer than 500 employees tended to offer flu shots (51 percent), HRAs (48 percent), biometric tests (48 percent), and online content (49 percent).

More Employers are Adding Incentives to Make Wellness Plan Offerings Pay Off
Since 2010, nearly 20 percent more companies with more than 500 employees have added incentives to increase participation in their wellness plans.

Incentivized wellness programs 2011 2010
Completing Health Risk Assessments 82% 65%
Wellness activities/challenges 59% 45%
Completing biometric tests 56% 28%
Tobacco use/non-use 51% 35%
Wellness education/classes 35% 21%
Meeting/exceeding biometric thresholds 18% N/A

Employers Using Incentives Reach for Discounts, Credits and Penalties the Most
For employers with more than 500 employees, the most popular incentives include:

  • Health insurance premium discounts, credits, surcharges or penalties (65 percent)
  • Wellness points converted to cash, gift cards or gifts (29 percent)
  • Additional contributions to HSA or HRA (19 percent)
  • Lower deductible in health plan (16 percent)
  • Reduced co-pay/co-insurance for drug costs (15 percent)
  • Additional time off (4 percent)

Investment per employee ranges from more than $1,000 (fewer than 10 percent) to less than $50 (8 percent). Most spend $50-$249 per employee (38 percent).