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Companies uncertain how to handle rising healthcare costs

The Corporate Wellness Magazine reports that employee wellness programs can generate $3.48 in savings for every dollar spent.

Healthcare costs comprise major expense for most businesses, but few companies have a concrete plan for dealing with the costs over the next year.

National Public Radio notes that for every dollar spent in the U.S., 18 cents go toward healthcare. This is up from just 7 cents in 1970 and is likely to continue to rise as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age. Approximately 34 percent of healthcare expenses are handled through private insurance companies, most of which are purchased through employers to reduce costs.

Survey shows uncertainty
The rising expense and new laws regarding insurance coverage are forcing businesses to reexamine their healthcare plans. Unfortunately, the majority (65 percent) remain undecided about how they will handle the rising costs, according to a survey by Newtek Business Services. Many companies note that steps will need to be taken to lower healthcare costs – 8 percent of companies say they will reduce benefits and 14 percent stated they will make employees pay more. These strategies are certainly going to be unpleasant for both the company and its workers, potentially leading to unsatisfied staff members and lower productivity.

Fortunately, there are other solutions that could help firms reduce healthcare related expenses. The Corporate Wellness Magazine reports that employee wellness programs can generate $3.48 in savings for every dollar spent. These initiatives provide create reward and recognition programs for staff members that have taken steps to lead healthier lives. The source notes that 90 percent of healthcare costs are preventable and companies that enact these programs see fewer sick days and insurance claims, along with less employee turnover.

Boosting the benefits of wellness programs
Because of the benefits of preventative care, insurance companies often provide discounts to firms and individuals that participate in wellness programs. Offering small rewards for personnel who stop smoking, lose weight or join a gym can encourage everyone in the company to make healthier decisions. These activities not only lead to fewer sick days being used, but can increase worker satisfaction helping to boost productivity.

Employees that participate in wellness programs know that the company is interested in helping them live healthy lives. The support created by the programs help to build a strong corporate culture that engages workers. There are a number of benefits to creating wellness programs beyond reducing healthcare costs, but executives that remain uncertain of how to handle rising expenses may want to consider enacting an employee reward program.

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