|[March 01, 2012]
New Survey Finds Most Companies Plan to Increase Dollar Value of Incentives Offered to Workers This Year
BOSTON --(Business Wire)--
Most companies plan to increase the dollar value of the incentives they
offer employees to participate in health-improvement programs this year,
according to a new employer survey conducted by Fidelity
Investments® and the National Business Group on Health
The survey is the latest in a series of studies Fidelity and NBGH have
conducted since 2009 to analyze the growth of health-improvement
programs in the workplace. These programs typically consist of
condition-management services (e.g. managing insulin treatments),
lifestyle-management services (e.g. weight loss advice) and health-risk
management services (e.g. on-site flu shots).
The survey found that almost three out of four (73 percent) companies
used incentives in 2011 to engage employees in health-improvement
programs and the average incentive value was $460. That figure has
steadily increased from an average of $430 in 2010 and $260 in 2009.
According to the study, employers used different types of incentives
including cash, gift cards and contributions to Health Savings Accounts.
The majority (57%) agreed that incentive-based programs had a better
than expected success rate at increasing employee participation.
"Incentives have come a long way from a free T shirt and a water
bottle," said Adam Stavisky, senior vice president of Fidelity's
Benefits Consulting business, which commissioned the study with NBGH.
"As companies have increased their commitment and investment in
health-improvement programs, they have made their incentives more
enticing. They have also learned which programs resonate best with their
workforce, whether that involves on-site flu shots or weight loss
challenges. Now employers are starting to see results from their
More Companies Requiring Participation in Health-Improvement Programs
The survey found that a small but growing number of companies are
requiring employees to participate in health-improvement programs in
order to be eligible for medical benefits. Last year, 5 percent of
companies required their workers to complete biometric testing (e.g.
cholesterol screening) or be excluded from coverage. That number is
expected to nearly double in 2012 to 9 percent. Likewise, 7 percent of
companies required completion of a health-risk assessment last year.
This year, 10 percent of companies will require it.
"Employers are increasingly expecting employees to take steps to improve
their health, conditioning even access to health benefits on meeting
certain requirements," said Helen Darling, president and chief executive
officer of NBGH. "This isn't surprising given how much control employees
can have over their own health and how much poor health habits cost
Incentives Aside, Funding for Health-Improvement Programs Holds Steady
The survey found that, incentives aside, the average employerspent $169
per employee on health-improvement programs in 2011, comparable to $154
in 2010 and up from $108 in 2009.
While smoking cessation and Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are the
most prevalent lifestyle-management offerings in the workplace, healthy
cafeteria food options are expected to be introduced by 16 percent of
employers this year. Currently, 51 percent of companies offer such
choices. Among health-risk management programs, 11 percent of companies
are planning to introduce health care advocates (who help employees find
medical specialists and navigate the health care system). Currently, 46
percent of companies have advocates. Condition-management programs are
expected to remain unchanged from 2011, with companies investing the
most in managing conditions related to diabetes and asthma.
Fidelity and NBGH Offer Employers Five Action Steps to Help Maximize
The majority (76 percent) of companies surveyed reported they do not
know the return on their investment in health-improvement programs. To
help employers maximize the impact and effectiveness of their offerings,
Fidelity and NBGH offer five suggestions.
Secure commitment from senior management
Employees are more likely to engage when there is encouragement from
Align programs with the health risks and challenges of the workforce
Determine what the pressing health issues are (e.g. high blood pressure)
and offer solutions. Don't offer diabetes management services if that
illness is not a significant health risk for most workers.
Set realistic goals and measure results
Define what the desired behavior is (e.g. weight loss) and track it.
Offer incentives that appeal to the workforce
Collect feedback from employees on what is appealing and discontinue
incentives that aren't working.
Manage vendors by establishing performance requirements
Employers should consolidate employee data collected from multiple
vendors and measure the results. Vendors should be held accountable if
the results fall short of objectives.
Data for the survey was collected online between Nov. 1, 2011 and Dec.
30, 2011 by the National Business Group on Health in conjunction with
Fidelity and is based on responses from a national sample of 139
companies from numerous industries including transportation, health
care, technology, entertainment, consumer products, retail and energy.
The sizes of the companies spanned a broad range, from 1,000 to 100,000
employees. The results of this survey may not be representative of all
companies meeting the same criteria as those surveyed for this study.
About the National Business Group on Health
The National Business Group on Health is the nation's only non-profit
organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers'
perspective on national health policy issues and providing practical
solutions to its members' most important health care problems. NBGH
helps drive today's health agenda while promoting ideas for controlling
health care costs, improving patient safety and quality of care, and
sharing best practices in health benefits management with senior
benefits, HR professionals, and medical directors from leading
corporations. For more information, visit www.businessgrouphealth.org.
About Fidelity's Benefits Consulting
Fidelity's Benefits Consulting business helps mid to large-size
employers nationwide assess the effectiveness of their benefits
programs. The business provides a comprehensive approach to benefits
design, strategy, funding, communications and delivery by looking at
clients' health care and retirement plans before diagnosing business
solutions. The group's specialties include retirement and health care
plan consulting, custom data administration, compliance and employee
communication. Benefits Consulting has offices in Boston, New York City,
San Francisco, Chicago, Raleigh and Dallas.
About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity Investments is one of the world's largest providers of
financial services, with assets under administration of $3.5 trillion,
including managed assets of $1.6 trillion, as of January 31, 2012.
Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment
management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits
outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than
20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000
financial intermediary firms. For more information about Fidelity
Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.
Fidelity, Fidelity Investments and Fidelity Investments and the Pyramid
Design logo are registered service marks of FMR LLC.
The National Business Group on Health is an independent entity and is
not affiliated with Fidelity Investments.
© 2012 FMR LLC. All rights reserved.
1 The survey found 52 percent of companies plan to boost the
dollar value of their incentives this year.
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