In recent years, “wellness” has become a word we hear more and more each day. Wellness is discussed in news media daily, there are thousands of blogs entirely dedicated to wellness, and it’s continuing to dominate conversations in the workplace.
With increased demand from employees, especially since the start of the pandemic, the percentage of employers offering a wellness program, wellness incentives, or wellness benefits has increased exponentially. In fact, here are 6 research-backed benefits of employee wellness programs, and a follow-on ultimate guide on corporate wellness programs.
A recent study found that 53% of small businesses and organizations and 81% of larger corporations offer some form of wellness benefits to their employees. Another study from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey found that about 39% of employers updated their health plans and benefit offerings to increase access to mental health care and support for employees since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the Wellness Word, we talk a lot about corporate wellness programs, but what is the difference between a corporate wellness program and an insurance wellness program? Essentially the only difference is that insurance wellness programs are offered and facilitated by insurance companies and included in the companies’ insurance plan.
A company can choose to include a wellness program offered by an insurance company in their health insurance plan or they can choose to go with a vendor outside of their health insurance plan. For example, if your company already has a health insurance plan, but they do not offer a wellness program or their wellness program doesn’t fit your company’s needs, you can work directly with a vendor outside of your health insurance company. If your company wanted to work directly with a company like IncentFit, you wouldn’t need to go through any type of third party to use our service.
There are a plethora of options when it comes to choosing not only a wellness program, but also a vendor to facilitate the program for you. So what should you look for when choosing a wellness program that fits the needs of your company?
In this article, we’ll be walking you through all the different options that are available through top insurance companies and how to choose the right program for your people. A few other questions we’ll be answering are:
- What wellness programs do popular insurance companies offer?
- How to enroll in your insurance companies’ wellness program?
- What to do if you need a more comprehensive wellness program?
What wellness programs do popular insurance companies offer?
UnitedHealthcare offers it’s wellness program a platform called Rally. It offers a variety of programs around incentivized walking, motion engagement, smoking cessations, and health management. Another segment of the program includes weight loss, which is something we advise against (read more here about why).
Anthem offers an array of wellness programs in a variety of categories including; a 24/7 nurse line, stress and mental health, healthy living, healthy pregnancy, managing a health issue, and assistance for hospital stays.
Anthem offers a unique approach to their wellness program offerings. Two things that stand out are their stress and mental health support and healthy pregnancy support. Anthem offers a Behavioral Health and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that will pair employees and their families with a mental health professional to navigate difficult times and ongoing mental health issues.
Additionally, Anthem’s healthy pregnancy program offers maternity coverage and preventative care throughout a pregnancy. This program also offers a program called Future Moms which expecting mothers can enroll in to be paired with a nurse specialist to act as a pregnancy coach. This coach will help mothers-to-be manage their screenings, discuss their nutrition, and prepare you for delivery.
Aetna offers over 70 health and wellness programs under a wide variety of categories including womens’ health care, personal health and wellness training. Consultants use a “proprietary Culture of Well-Being tool” to find gaps and opportunities in a company’s approach to promoting health and wellness.
This tool will help analyze a company’s culture using the six dimensions of wellness, integrate health initiatives with business objectives, analyze program effectiveness over time and assist in implementing an evidence-based approach.
A unique offering from Aetna’s wellness program gives employees the option to work with a lifestyle coach. Employees can receive personalized one-on-one phone coaching. Additionally members can opt for group and self-paced digital coaching, to support accountability and track progress.
Cigna offers a variety of wellness programs for companies touching on five key areas; physical, emotional, environmental, social and financial.
Employers looking to include a wellness program in their healthcare offerings to employees can be paired with a Cigna Engagement Consultant. The consultant will help the employer analyze the needs of their employees to decide which areas to focus on.
Some additional offerings of the program include working with a health engagement consultant, employee assistance programs (EAPs) and a Healthy Rewards Program.
Humana’s wellness program offerings focus more heavily on physical health than the companies listed above. Their Go365 service main offerings include; biometric screenings, healthy life coaching, and an engagement resource hub.
The engagement resources hub helps increase employee participation by providing a self-service portal that includes resources to plan, promote and implement worksite wellness initiatives.
Highmark’s Wellness Program offerings are great for a company looking to focus on mental health and wellness and team participation. The program’s offerings include; behavioral health resources, personalized health and wellness coaching, challenging your team, preventative on-site screenings, and engagement rewards.
Blue Cross Blue Shield offers their wellness programs through their platform called Blue365. From what we could find, they do not seem to include any mental healthcare assistance or services in their wellness program offerings.
How to enroll in your insurance company’s wellness program
The first step to enroll your company in a corporate wellness plan is to find out if your current health insurance provider offers wellness programs or services. The next step is to decide if you want to go through your company’s insurance provider or a third-party administrator.
It’s important to explore all possible options to make an informed decision. Every organization looks different in size, structure, culture, needs, etc. and all of these factors should be considered when choosing your official wellness program.
If your company’s current health insurance provider does offer a wellness program or services, most will offer a free demo of the service or pair you with a consultant to discuss the specific needs of your organization.
A few helpful questions to ask before choosing a wellness program vendor:
- Can they provide clear and detailed collateral that includes an overview of their product/service effectiveness, case studies from other clients, cost breakdowns, etc.?
- What level of support will they provide throughout the program?
- Will employees be able to reach out to their team for support and service-related questions?
- How is their service facilitated?
- What percentage and aspects of their service is facilitated by tech-based automation and real humans?
- What specific areas does the vendor specialize in and what level of importance are those areas to the goals of your ideal wellness program?
- Will the vendor customize the product to meet the needs of your company?
- How is the performance of the team on the vendor’s side evaluated? What level of expertise is required for the people that will be facilitating your program on the vendor’s side?
After you feel like you’ve explored all possible vendors and program options and weighed the advantages and disadvantages of each option, it’s time to choose your program. If you decide to go with your current health insurance provider’s wellness program, the implementation process should be fairly simple considering you’re already in their system.
Why should you do it?
Facilitating a wellness program through your current insurance provider can offer many benefits when it comes to simplicity and streamlining services.
Some health insurance companies offer discounts or bundle pricing for adding on services like a wellness program in addition to your organization’s health insurance plan. Having a health insurance plan to cover costs for your employees is a very important benefit to offer, however, it doesn’t ensure that they will actually take real steps to taking care of their health.
A wellness program can excite, motivate and incentivize employees to make healthier decisions and take real action when it comes to taking care of their physical and mental health. It’s proven that healthy employees benefit the workplace in multiple ways.
There are many benefits to offering employees a wellness program, but the most prominent benefits include increased productivity, employee satisfaction, increased retention rates and leverage to attract higher quality candidates.
How to measure success?
There are a variety of ways to measure the success of your wellness program. The best way we always suggest is to facilitate a series of pulse surveys for the people in your organization before, during and (if there is an end) after the program is implemented.
Pulse surveys are an effective way to gauge how satisfied employees are in the workplace, with their role, with their team, with the benefits provided, and with the company culture overall. Pulse surveys can also provide great insight into the needs of individuals and your organization as a whole. Facilitating these surveys can help employers identify what is working, what’s not and what areas need improvements or changes.
We recommend facilitating a pulse survey before you even choose your wellness program or provider, so you can make your decision based on the actual needs of your people, not just your assumptions of their needs.
Pulse surveys are also important to facilitate throughout the program so you can have enough data at different stages to accurately pinpoint specific aspects of your program that need improvement or changes. Whether these changes are implemented in real time or applied to a future program, this information is extremely valuable.
Finally, facilitating a pulse survey at the end of the program can be useful to gauging employee’s final thoughts and how the program was perceived overall. You can ask employees in which ways they feel like the program benefitted them. You can also ask if they have any input of what could’ve been done differently or what they felt like they would’ve preferred.
You can use the survey results to see if employees estimated their level of happiness and personal health higher in the first survey compared to the last. If so, your program was probably a success and you know to continue it in the future.
Track and Analyze Measurable Data
Another great way to measure the success of your program is to track and analyze all relevant data.
Measuring data like:
- Retention rate
- Number of quality candidates that have applied and were hired
- Quality level of candidates
- Rate and quality of productivity
Are all great statistics to look at when trying to determine the performance level of your wellness program.
What to do if you need a more comprehensive wellness program?
If you find that the success rate of your wellness program is less than ideal, you can always reevaluate your options or work with a consultant at your insurance provider to determine how your program can be improved.
In case your insurance provider doesn’t provide a wellness program, here are 6 employee wellness program ideas that you can implement yourself, as well as a guide on how you can launch a wellness program in a day!
You may want to also consider reading these helpful guides to make your wellness program successful:
- 6 Ideas to Include Remote Employees In Your Wellness Program
- How to Make the Most of Your Corporate Wellness Program
- What Employees Want in a Wellness Program
- The Most Important Question To Ask Before You Launch A Wellness Program
- How To Create a Wellness Program That Fits Your Office Culture
- Can Your Wellness Program Make Exercise Fun?
- Create a Tax Free Wellness Program
- Why Corporate Wellness Programs Work (in case you are still on the fence about implementing one!)
- How to Promote Nutrition in your Wellness Program
- How To Promote Your New Employee Wellness Program
We recommend going with a tech-based wellness program, which is one of the aspects of our platform that sets us apart. IncentFit uses highly-customizable technology and sophisticated automation in collaboration with a highly trained, in-house support team to facilitate our wellness solutions.