Wellness plans in general appear to be gaining traction among American workers, with many showing more interest in their company’s program. At the same time, engagement remains uneven, and the programs may be raising heightened expectations among employees — expectations that often aren’t being fulfilled.
A survey of nearly 2,000 U.S. workers puts some of these issues into greater perspective. The HealthMine Consumer Wellness Report shows “that while most consumers enrolled in wellness programs like them and feel they help them manage their health, a majority report that they do not stay engaged in their programs throughout the year. In addition, many are unsure if their wellness programs are helping lower their health care costs.”
Key findings from the survey, when viewed by response categories, include:
Consumer engagement: About three-fourths of employers include wellness plan incentives. However, says HealthMine, “wellness plan initiatives do not sustain consumer engagement; less than half of consumers report that they stay engaged in their wellness program throughout the entire year.”
Other recent research suggests that may in part be due to incentives that don’t resonate with large segments of the workforce.
Health knowledge: This survey added more support to the theory that most consumers are still fairly clueless about key health metrics. “Less than one third know at least one of their key health metrics, which can be indicators of risk for chronic illness,” the report said. “For example, only 32 percent of people know their blood pressure. A majority of consumers report difficulty interpreting their health information, or understanding what steps they need to take to maintain or improve their health.”
HealthMine recommends that plan designers take the initiative to include basic health education in their programs.