Report: 90 percent of U.S. corporations offer wellness programs

A new report from the Advertising Specialty Institute reveals that more companies are learning that giveaways coupled with corporate health and wellness programs can boost employee participation and lead to an overall reduction in healthcare costs.

The largest marketing, education and media organization for the promotional products industry, the ASI report has several parallels to a report from the Incentive Research Foundation, which revealed that only one in five people will participate in an employer-offered wellness program if there are no incentives offered, whereas wellness programs that come with incentives boosts participation by at least 60 percent.

A 2010 government report found that as much as 75 percent of the $2.5 trillion spent every year on healthcare in the United States is used to treat preventable conditions. Effective health and wellness programs target conditions like obesity and smoke cessation.

"It's clear from ASI's research that companies can attain a significant ROI through wellness programs – but while 90 percent of U.S. corporations provide employee wellness programs, only 44 percent offer promotional products as incentives for participation," said Timothy Andrews, president and CEO of ASI. "There's clearly room for growth in this market. It's good for business, and it's great for reducing skyrocketing healthcare costs."

Meanwhile, Pfizer, a health and well-being provider, recently won a corporate citizenship award for its global health partnerships program. Pfizer received the 2011 Business Civic Leadership Center's Corporate Citizenship Award in the Best International Ambassador category for its program.

"Through Pfizer's Global Health Partnerships, Pfizer supports the growth of promising cancer- and tobacco-control organizations united by the shared mission of accelerating the pace of progress in the fight against cancer," said Caroline Roan, vice president of Corporate Responsibility and president of the Pfizer Foundation. "Pfizer is proud to be awarded Best International Ambassador Award and for its commitment to foster a culture of results-oriented discovery and innovation."

Employer-offered wellness programs are only expected to gain popularity moving forward as the passing of the national healthcare reform law last year provided companies with greater incentives to offer an employee-based wellness program. By 2014, it is expected that companies will be able to offer incentives of up to 30 percent of the total cost of the workforce's insurance coverage.