Linking Employee and Organizational Health
Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Astrid M. Richardsen
Chapter 13: The use of health risk assessments in corporate wellness programs – an alternative view
The economic challenges over the past five years coupled with escalating healthcare cost and the potential negative impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to force employers to seek employee health and benefit solutions that will effectively address the health and overall well-being of their workforce in order to improve productivity, mitigate healthcare costs and improve their bottom line. In the USA alone, people with chronic disease account for more than 75 percent of the nation’s $2 trillion in medical spending. Whether healthcare is financed by employers, individuals or social programs, the impact of chronic disease is placing a significant burden on our health systems, taxes and costs of coverage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 1994), 75 percent of chronic disease is preventable. High employee health risks lead to higher implications of increased healthcare costs and subsequently, the lower an employee health risks, the greater is the likelihood of achieving lower healthcare costs. Therefore, it makes sense that over 85 percent of large companies and 81 percent of small companies have a wellness program in place. The primary objective of 77 percent of employers is to use wellness programs to address rising healthcare costs. Secondary objectives include improving the overall health of their workforce, improve employee productivity and improve employee satisfaction.
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