Nearly Half of Employees Enroll in Wellness Programs

September 29, 2011 ( – The results from the Benefits USA 2011/2012 survey found 48.2% of employees enroll in wellness programs when companies offer them.  

According to a press release, wellness options differ as 91.5% of employers offer flu shots or immunizations to employees. Nearly 60% offer health risk assessments, while 58.8% make tobacco cessation programs available to employees. Biometric screening is quickly gaining popularity among employers. In 2011, 31.2% of employers offered biometric screening to employees, compared to just 17.6% in 2009.

“When it comes to offering medical insurance to employees, companies are walking a very thin line between offering adequate coverage and offering coverage they can actually afford,” said Amy Kaminski, Director of Marketing for Compdata Surveys, in the press release. “Offering wellness programs may help alleviate some of the burden by assisting employees in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, as well as through early detection and treatment of risk factors that could produce serious and expensive health issues for the employee down the road.”

Wellness offerings vary among industries, as 57.4% of insurance organizations offer rewards and incentives for participating in wellness programs. Forty-six percent of banking and finance companies utilize them, while manufacturing and distribution employers report using them at a rate of 42.2%. Rewards and incentives are offered in health care organizations at a rate of 41.7%.

Differences are also seen in the wellness rewards offered, as gift cards are used by 42.2% of organizations. More than 34% of companies use health and fitness products, while 31.9% employ insurance discounts or penalties for risk factors. Twenty-six percent of companies use HSA/HRA contributions to reward employees for taking part in wellness programs, compared to 24.3% who use medical premium contributions.