Making Wellness Happen in Your Organization

Getting employees involved in wellness is critical to both the health of the individual and the company. Employee health affects company revenue in many ways: (1) Healthy employees are generally the most productive employees. (2) Unhealthy employees and smokers in particular are often the least productive. (3) The cost of insurance, disability, and other health related benefits now exceeds profits for most large businesses. Employees generally look to their employer for their health benefits, and they expect any treatments to keep them healthy to be offered and paid for by their employer.

Along with this current reality is the fact that many wellness companies and health related business are offering products and services to keep employees healthy, to slow the effects of aging, and to prevent diseases from developing in the first place. Such as programs for weight loss, smoking cessation, and stress reduction programs.

One way to make these programs work for an employer is the use of a Health Incentive Account (HIA) plan.

Health Incentive Accounts (HIA) to encourage Healthy Living & Productivity
The federal government now allows employers to provide tax-free wellness care in the form of smoking cessation programs or weight loss programs for their employees through an HIA. In addition to saving the employer money in the long run on insurance premiums and lost productivity due to illness, employees who successfully take advantage of wellness programs will likely be more loyal and will thank their employer for the rest of their lives!

New federal rules also allow an HIA to offer unlimited first-dollar coverage for wellness and preventive care including:

Annual Physicals
Screening services
Routine prenatal and well-child care
Child and adult immunizations
Tobacco cessation programs
Obesity weight loss programs
Preventive care

Every employer encouraging employees to choose high-deductible and/or HSA-qualified health plans could have a HIA offering first-dollar coverage for wellness items ranging from annual physicals to obesity treatment programs—doing so will encourage the employees to stay healthy, keep them from skipping important screening items like mammograms, and save their employer and them thousands on future major medical expenses.

Funding HIAs Based on Completion of Wellness Activities
Some firms are taking "Wellness HRAs" to the next level and only funding the Health Incentive Account if the employee completes specified wellness activities.  For example, they might give employees $100 in an HIA if they compete a heath risk assessment.  The most common wellness activities include:

Health Risk Assessments
Biometric Screening
BMI Reduction
Annual Physical

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