What is a True Wellness Program

To understand a “true” wellness program, it is helpful to understand what it is not:

  • It is not JUST a health fair
  • It is not JUST a health questionnaire
  • It is not JUST a fitness facility
  • It is not JUST a nurse line

Many employers mistakenly believe they already have a wellness program. All too often these are simply “feel good” programs that have been promoted under the guise of wellness.  While they might make employers feel better about their efforts to help employees, these programs on their own are simply not effective at addressing the needs of high-risk employees and reducing claims costs.  Reduced claims equate to decreased absenteeism, increased productivity, increased morale and higher health benefit satisfaction.  According to the National Wellness Institute, “Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward, a more successful existence.”

To accomplish these desirable outcomes and have a successful wellness program it takes two simple variables.First, it takes the employer offering a real opportunity for employees to participate in a wellness program.  A real opportunity is being able to not only assess risk factors of disease, but more importantly detect life threatening diseases that have progressed from the existing risk factors.  Secondly, it takes results that will motivate the employee to make positive changes to their lifestyle, thus improving their productivity both personally and professionally.

There are several criteria that denote a “true” wellness program: It must actively engage the employee and have a high participation rate among all employees.

  • It must actively engage the employee and have a high participation rate among all employees.
  • It must focus on preventing claims, rather than reacting to claims after they are incurred.
  • It must both educate and motivate the employee to make healthy choices and avoid risks.
  • It must have measurable results that impact claims costs.
  • All results must be closely monitored and reported back to the employer.
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