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Programs focused on corporate health and wellness, travel incentives

While employee incentive programs such as corporate health and wellness initiatives are often adopted by private businesses small and large to reduce healthcare costs and improve employee productivity and morale, public employers are also getting in on the benefits.

According to the News and Sentinel, officials in Wood County, West Virginia, recently met with insurance company representatives and its employees to discuss options in implementing an effective corporate health and wellness plan that will reduce healthcare costs.

Several aspects of corporate health and wellness have already been put in place for employees including an exercise program that reimburses employees using local facilities, health screenings flu shots and healthy lunch options, the paper states.

“The first model is health awareness, which we have done, then you moved into health promotions offering programs, but we’d like to progress now into risk reduction, which is where you will see a savings and hopefully prevention of chronic disease,” Amanda Johnson of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, told the paper.

Johnson added it is important to put incentives in place to encourage county employees to comply with the suggested health screenings. She told the paper Wood County’s rate of employees who have not utilized their medical benefits in the past two years is at 10.6 percent.

“The Lifestyle Program engages the employees more in their health, gives them awareness of their current health status, moving the program to the next level,” Johnson said. “These people could be ticking time bombs. The county could, if you chose to do so, provide incentives to encourage these individuals to have these preventive exams.”

Employers are also looking to the skies to promote employee incentives and increase morale in the workplace. The Site International Foundation recently joined forces with the Incentive Travel Council to commission Dr. Scott Jeffries of Monmouth University to conduct a study that, when released, will ideally provide insights on how businesses can benefit from implementing travel-based incentives to its employees.

“Organizations are increasingly facing new as well as unique business challenges every day,” said Jim Ruszala, former president of ITC. “To overcome these challenges and help achieve business performance objectives, we need to approach incentive travel design differently with an added attention towards how we can better engage and improve participant experiences.”