Magazine article Government Finance Review

Wellness Programs Don't Lower Health-Care Costs, Study Finds

Magazine article Government Finance Review

Wellness Programs Don't Lower Health-Care Costs, Study Finds

Article excerpt

Lifestyle management portions of workplace wellness programs were not found to reduce health-care costs, according to Workplace Wellness Programs, a study by the Rand Corporation for the U.S. Department of Labor. A previous study from Rand indicated that lifestyle management participation is associated with reduced employee health risks (such as smoking and being overweight), but not with lower health-care costs. This study looked for cost savings in higher-risk employees and those who are more engaged in the program, but found none.

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If similar findings were reproduced in future research, it would imply that screening large numbers of individuals for health risks combined with education and one-on-one coaching for those with risks is not effective enough to have a meaningful impact on the health of America's workers or the cost of health coverage.

About four-fifths of all U.S. employers with more than 1,000 employees are estimated to offer such programs. For those larger employers, program offerings cover a range of screening activities, interventions to encourage healthy lifestyles, and support for employees with chronic conditions. …

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