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Employers concerned about healthcare costs should consider wellness initiatives

According to the latest Top Five Total Rewards Priorities Survey from Deloitte, employers’ number one priority is the cost of providing healthcare benefits to active employees. This issue came ahead of employees’ willingness to increase the portion of benefit plan coverage that they pay, the ability to adjust to health reform legislation and the clear alignment of their total rewards approach with their business strategy and brand, as well as the ability of rewards programs to attract, motivate and retain employees.

A total of 63 percent of respondents indicated that they will mainly focus on mitigating total healthcare costs, which have been consistently rising.

According to the Wellness Council of America, companies receive a $3 return on investment for every $1 invested into a corporate health and wellness program. The Deloitte study found that 60 percent of employees plan to actively participate in corporate wellness programs within the next one to three years.

This suggests that now is a good time for companies to begin considering the feasibility of enacting a wellness program for their workers.

The Credit Union Times reports that Xceed Financial Credit Union did this last year by tasking its internal event and promotion committee with researching wellness programs both within and outside the industry. As a result, the team put together its own program, with a focus on physical fitness, weight loss, personal development, community involvement and environmental efforts.

The team conceived a points program that allotted different numbers of points to activities ranging from participating in team sports and working out at the gym to donating blood, cooking healthy meals and carpooling to work. Participants logged their activities on a daily and quarterly basis, and employee rewards of $300 per person were awarded to those who earned 1,000 points by the end of the year.

“It feels good to contribute to the health and well-being of our associates,” Teresa Freeborn, president and CEO of the company, told the news source. “We want to do all we can to help stabilize insurance costs, which is why we’ve invested in our own custom wellness program. Any reduction in insurance fees could then be passed on to our associates.”

A total of 56 out of the 128 employees reached the 1,000-points threshold, and the total number of points accumulated exceeded $104,600, representing an average of 817 points.