Employee health management — or “wellness” — is one of employers’ top strategies for slowing health benefit costs and creating more engaged and productive workforces. Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans indicates that employers are increasingly willing to invest in health management — and they believe their programs are making a difference. Mercer’s nationally projectable annual survey includes public and private organizations with 10 or more employees; 2,842 employers responded in 2013.
“U.S. employers believe that health management is helping to slow medical trend, and they are putting more emphasis on these programs,” says Beth Umland, director of Research for Mercer’s Health & Benefits business. “Now more than half of large employers provide employees with financial incentives to participate, and a fifth reward employees for achieving or maintaining specific health targets. They’re also making health improvement more fun with contests and challenges, and providing mobile apps to track activity.”