Consumerism and healthier lifestyle choices are important in lobbying for more affordable health care. The prolonged economic downturn has forced employers to take a close look at the rising cost of health care. Employers are instituting strategies that encourage employees to take responsibility for their own health.
An employee wellness program coupled with a high-deductible health plan, backed by a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), offers a solution. These health plans are also referred to as Consumer Driven Health Plans.
The underlying principle is to engage the employee in personal health care. Employee wellness programs encourage healthy living through health education and support.
Wellness program participants gain access to the tools and resources needed to make positive change. Employers that support the well-being of their workforce create a healthier, more productive, and sustainable work environment.
Additional benefits of a worksite wellness program include:
- recruitment and retention of healthy employees
- decreased illness and injury
- reduced absenteeism rates
- improved employee relations and morale
- increased productivity
- overall reduction in health care cost
The health care spending account (i.e.,HSA, HRA) is used to pay for qualified medical expenses both covered and not covered under the insurance plan.
Employees can maintain health care benefits and continue to access their providers. The health plan allows employees to determine the best use of their benefit dollars and decide what care and treatment to receive.
A more economical approach to the expenditure of health care dollars will develop.
The employer benefits from a significant premium reduction. Savings can be applied to fund wellness programs which will lead to a greater return in the long term—and have net savings. Numerous health plan options are available and there are creative ways to design an effective wellness program.
The overall goal of integrating wellness and a high deductible plan, supported by an HSA or HRA, is to save money on health care cost and promote a healthier environment and attitude.