Now is the Time to Think about Wellness Dollars

Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: November 10, 2020

They might be your ticket to well-being for your employees.

Insurance providers are smart to look out for the well-being of your workforce. The healthier your employees, the less expenditure from insurers on your company-sponsored policy. For this reason, some insurers offer a reimbursement when employers invest in programs and initiatives aimed at improving employees’ health. You may recognize these reimbursements as wellness dollars, wellness credits, or fitness rewards.

Regardless of the name, they incent employers to take positive steps toward meeting the needs of their employee population. According to Kevin Davis, Senior Benefits Consultant, Vice President at Univest Insurance LLC, some insurers favor offering wellness credits over actual wellness services through their policies. “This is a popular direction right now,” he says. “For example, a company of 60-100 employees may receive as much as $5,000 in wellness dollars per year. This enables the company to choose the health services they prefer to spend it on, rather than set services within the policy.”

How to get the most out of your wellness dollars

Not all insurers offer wellness incentives, so the first step is to find out if yours does. Your insurance broker or representative will know. You’ll also want to find out the maximum amount of reimbursement, whether it covers specific services, and if there are stipulations on how the money can be spent. Once you have this information, consider some of the following ideas about spending your reward wisely.

Test out new programs. Maybe you want to try something out before you fully commit, or test its compatibility with what you’re already doing. Since wellness dollars are provided annually, you can use the reimbursement to investigate one service this year, and another next year.

  • Expand or incentivize existing programs. If, for example, your current tobacco cessation program isn’t comprehensive, you can build on it. You can add counseling, or extended virtual health coaching. You could even potentially use the reimbursement to reward those who quit.
  • Add services not offered by your insurer. If your insurer’s services are not comprehensive, you can add substance with offerings such as mental health counseling, weight management, work/life balance, and any number of other choices. It’s a way to address “total” health among your employee population.
  • Concentrate on a particular need. Wellness dollars let you zero in on what your employees need the most. Maybe it’s professional health coaching with board-certified coaches, training on conflict resolution, or wellness challenges. Personalization truly makes a difference.
  • Help employees upgrade their wearable fitness devices. Since so many employees probably use fitness trackers to help them monitor physical activity and diet, they might appreciate the opportunity to upgrade. Wellness dollars might be well-spent on technology for your workforce.

The concept of wellness dollars is one that is highly relevant, as more employers recognize the value of paying attention to health. Considerable research has shown that lifestyle factors have a huge impact. In fact, when it comes to chronic disease, the World Health Organization notes that, “80% of premature heart disease, stroke, and diabetes can be prevented by eliminating risk factors.” Many employers are listening to this data, and planning accordingly.

According to one chief human resources officer at a national company known for its wellness commitment, “We’re meeting employees in a 21st century manner to help them balance and lead a purpose-driven life.”

For more information on using your wellness dollars to improve your employees’ health:

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