The employees who suffer from medical problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity or tobacco-related diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, may represent a financial “burden” for their employers. Besides the physical and mental suffering that they experience, they can also “harm” their companies by generating additional costs through higher insurance premiums paid by the employer, poor work productivity and missed work days. The Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, was designed to address this negative health trend, among many other health care deficiencies. At Front Range Primary Care, our experienced doctors see regularly employees who complain about poor work productivity and negative habits that disrupt their workflow, such as smoking or binge eating. Their employers are also not happy because the insurance companies raise the premiums for smokers and individuals affected by various diseases, and the quality of work also suffers due to a lack of concentration and missed work days. Fortunately, the Employer Wellness Programs that are stimulated through grants from the government have the potential to address the situation and benefit everyone, if their implementation is rigorous and consistent.
Employer Wellness Programs Encourage Employees to Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle
An employer wellness program provides tangible benefits to both employees and the companies they work for. It may consist in the elaboration of strategies that allow employees to make healthier choices and abandon their bad habits. A company may stimulate its employees to improve their health by organizing gyms at work or paying for gym memberships at fitness centers, offering gift cards and discounts at grocery stores and restaurants for organic food, offering healthier foods at work, such as organic tea, healthier sandwiches, salads or fruits, and organizing seminars and short-courses that present easy-to-digest information about a healthy lifestyle. The components included in an employer wellness program may vary, and they may reflect the preferences of a particular company and its administration, but certain guidelines may need to be followed if a company is to become eligible for grants from the government. If a company succeeds at implementing an employer wellness program, then the insurance company may revise the insurance premiums for its employees due to observed positive health changes. Aggressive wellness programs that “punish” employees are unlikely to succeed. Instead, companies are advised to implement an employee reward system that consists in giving points for successful lifestyle and health changes, which can be converted into cash, gift cards or other incentives.
Grants from the Government may be Available to Eligible Businesses
The government is determined to encourage businesses to implement programs that will improve the health of their employees. Because the initial investments for implementing such a program may be a substantial financial burden for some companies, especially small businesses, the government may offer grants to facilitate the application of these programs as soon as possible. The companies must demonstrate the initiative to organize a solid and functional employer wellness program in order to become eligible for grants from the government. Common diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease, are highly preventable through a healthier lifestyle, which is why wellness programs may dramatically reduce healthcare costs and improve work productivity by targeting these avoidable medical problems in employees.