Linking Employee and Organizational Health
Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Astrid M. Richardsen
Chapter 15: The development, implementation, and evaluation of corporate wellness programs
Corporate wellness programs are not just about saving money on medical care. As I wrote that sentence, I almost took the word ‘just’ out of it. The days of a sole focus on medical expenditures are numbered. As noted in a recent article by Matt Dunning from BusinessInsurance.com (2013b, p. 1), 13 percent of employers with fewer than 500 employees are thinking of moving from traditional health insurance plans to defined contribution plans. In a survey of larger firms that was completed recently by Aon Hewitt, ‘about 28% reported a desire to move to a defined contribution approach over the next three to five years’ (Aon Hewitt, 2013, p. 5). Taken to its logical extreme where medical care is eventually treated like defined contribution 401k plans, the corporate contribution toward medical care will be capped by a dollar amount, not defined in terms of the particular set of covered medical benefits people use. Thus, as we move forward, Brian Gifford from the Integrated Benefits Institute says the case for corporate wellness programs will be based less on the need to control medical expenditures and more on the program’s ‘impact on core business processes’ (2012, p. 1). With that in mind, this chapter offers some thoughts about the design, implementation, and evaluation of corporate wellness programs. Throughout the chapter, I use some interchangeable labels for these programs, including health promotion, health improvement programs, health and productivity management programs, and total population management programs.
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