In Brief

  • Successful companies recognize that a reactive approach to worker health is less effective than preventive approaches.

  • Adding traditional wellness programs to group health benefits is a first step, but can be slow and ineffective.

  • This article discusses comprehensive healthy workforce programs that companies can employ to address the total health of the workforce and improve not only health insurance premiums, but also workers' compensation costs, absenteeism, morale and other indirect costs.

  • Early adopters of this shift in employee wellness will be able to effectively manage the health and productivity of their workforce.

Most successful businesses are beginning to understand that the reactive approach to employee health, providing group health insurance to cover employees when they get sick, is far less effective than one that combines preventive efforts with transparent/reactive medical services. In the past, adding a traditional wellness program to group health benefits was the first step for employers that sought to proactively reign in their increasing group healthcare costs. This approach is slow, sometimes ineffective and makes measuring success difficult. More importantly, this philosophy is becoming obsolete.

By adding new, nontraditional wellness programs to existing healthy workforce strategies, employers can take their programs to a new level. Employers can look to a new generation of comprehensive healthy workforce programs to address not only nutrition, cessation education, exercise and disease management, but also disease prevention, functional employment testing, job analysis, ergonomic assessment and injury prevention.

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