About 83% of the employers that try to measure the financial effects of health and wellness programs believe the returns are better than break-even.

Researchers at 3 organizations — the ERIC Industry Committee, Washington; the National Association of Manufacturers, Washington; and IncentOne, Lyndhurst, N.J. – have published that finding in a summary of results from a survey of 225 large U.S. employers.

The percentage of large employers using incentives to promote health and wellness programs has increased to 71% this year, from 62% in 2007, the researchers report.

Only about 30% of the employers have started measuring return on investments in health and wellness the programs, but that percentage has doubled in the past year, the researchers note.

Incentives for weight management programs ranged from $5 to $500, and for smoking cessation programs from $5 to $600.

Health and wellness incentive programs averaged about $192 in incentive payments per person per year, with a range of about $100 to $300.