Baicker, Cutler & Song: Workplace wellness programs can generate savings

Baicker, Cutler & Song, 2010, Health Affairs

Study: Meta-analysis of 22 studies on potential financial benefits of wellness/fitness company programs.
Results: Average savings per employee per year for a physical wellness program in terms of health care costs was $358, whereas average costs per employee per year were only $144; ROI 148%.
Conclusion: Health insurance in the United States is likely to continue to be employment-based. Our critical review of the existing evidence suggests that employer-based wellness initiatives may not only improve health, but may also result in substantial savings over even short-run horizons. Encouraging (or even subsidizing) such programs also seem to have broad political appeal, perhaps in part because they operate with less direct government oversight and fewer government dollars and in part because they hold the promise of slowing health care cost growth without the specter of rationing care. Understanding the factors that make them most successful and the barriers to their wider adoption could help smooth the path for future investments in this very promising avenue for improving health and productivity.
Read the full article at: Health Affairs.

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