I’ve heard people say that money can’t buy health, and one thing is clear, it’s a lot less expensive to be healthy than it is to be sick. The corporate world has recognized this basic truth for a while now. According to an employee survey that was taken late last year, many U.S. companies said they planned to increase the dollar value of health incentives they would offer their employees to participate in health improvement programs for 2012. In fact, 73 percent of these companies use incentives to engage employees in corporate health and wellness programs. In 2011, the average incentive value per employee was $460, up from $430 in 2010.
What these employers know is that it is much less expensive to offer monetary and other incentives to encourage their workers to get healthier, than it is to pay higher and higher health insurance costs for employees who have serious health conditions. The value they get from a healthier workforce also impacts production and efficiency by reducing sick days, and extended healthcare leave, not to mention improving employee morale.
So, what can individuals and small business owners learn from corporate America? We can take to heart the benefit of wellness as the first line of defense against rising healthcare costs. If we take a look at the most common wellness programs our corporate neighbors have embraced, it is a good place for us to start in developing our own, personal wellness plans for the coming year. Some initiatives we can incorporate at home include: 1) smoking cessation; 2) healthy eating; 3) regular exercise, including cardio and weightlifting; 4) health screens; 5) getting annual flu and pneumonia vaccines; and 6) stress reduction techniques.
Another important element of corporate wellness programs is education. Most companies with organized health and wellness programs provide newsletters, brochures and sometimes even lectures by healthcare professionals to inform their employees about health issues and give them the facts they need to take a more active role in their own healthcare. That is where Well-Being comes in. We invite our readers to use Well-Being as one resource in their arsenal of weapons to improve and insure good health.
As we close another year of bringing Well-Being to you, our readers, the staff and I want to thank you for making us a part of your lives. We look forward to introducing new healthcare technologies, successful wellness strategies, and cutting-edge diagnostics, as we work with healthcare providers and other professionals around the state to bring you the latest information about health, fitness, nutrition and more.
We wish you all a joyous holiday season and a happy New Year. ¶