Wellness Programs Well Received

January 31, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employees not only ask for wellness benefits but take advantage of employer offerings according to latest results from the Principal Financial Well-Being Index.

According to a Principal press release, employees who are offered these programs are responding by participating at work in:

  • blood pressure checks (81%),
  • cholesterol screenings (73%) and
  • taking online health screenings (72%).

In addition, more than three-fourths (82%) of those who are offered health education tools utilize them, while two-thirds (68%) whose employers offer wellness seminars attend. Nearly half (47%) of workers agree that these offerings encourage them to work harder, and 48% said wellness offerings would encourage them to stay in their current employment situation.

Participation Incentives

In part this attitude may come from the fact that American workers recognize a financial incentive from participation, according to Principal. More than half (57%) of those surveyed believe wellness benefits are very or somewhat successful in reducing health care costs. When asked who benefits the most financially from reduced health care costs associated with wellness benefits, 55% ranked “my family and me,” as the group who benefits the most, up from 48% in 2004.

However, employees say access to health care providers is the most important factor in choosing a health plan, even more important than cost. Among the 42% of workers who have more than one health care plan to choose from, 31% cited the care network (doctors and facilities available in the plan) as the most motivational factor in their decision. Roughly one-in-five (21%) cited the monthly paycheck deduction, or employee cost, as the most motivational factor in selecting a particular health care plan.

Since 2000, the Principal Financial Well-Being Index has surveyed employees at companies ranging from 10 to 1,000 employees and releases results quarterly through the Principal Financial Group and Harris Interactive. This is the second year the survey has taken a closer look at wellness attitudes and behaviors.

For more on the most recent Principal Financial Well-Being Index, visit http://www.principal.com/wellbeing/index.htm