Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Getting Paid To Get On That Treadmill - Some Companies Find That Healthy Workers Are Better For The Bottom Line

“Given the economic downturn and accompanying layoffs over the past year, you might think company wellness programs would be going the way of the matching 401(k). Not so. In fact, many companies that have tried to trim their workers’ waistlines — and health care costs — may find themselves in a better position than ever to give workers a little nudge. ‘The rising cost of medical care is unsustainable and is a huge and legitimate concern to employers that pay for it,’ says labor attorney Hanan Kolko. ‘During the past decade or so, health care costs have been rising at three times the rate of inflation. Every nickel that goes to pay for rising medical costs can't pay for raises, pensions or 401(k) matches.’ The median health care expense per employee last year was $7,173, according to a recent survey by Watson Wyatt and the National Business Group on Health. But companies save from $1.49 to $4.91 in health-related expenses for every dollar spent on wellness programs, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That may be part of the reason why, despite the downturn, employers don’t seem to be skimping on their health and wellness initiatives...."

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