heart pulseThe 2012 Wellness Benefits Administration Benchmarking Study released by bswift and the Employee Benefit News has shown that employers in 2012 are seeking to change employee behavior through wellness programs to lower healthcare costs while benefiting from automation tools for cost savings thanks to improved operational efficiency. However, many companies, both large and small, have yet to fully realize the potential of these tools for cost savings.

“Employers are actively modifying and upgrading their wellness programs as they learn from experience, putting a greater emphasis on employee incentives and the use of biometric data,” said bswift CEO Rich Gallun. “The study shows that organizations are not waiting for absolute clarity on the future of national health reform to get a grip on health expenditures and to improve the health of their employees and dependents through wellness programs.”

Key findings regarding wellness in companies with over 500 employees include:

• A little over three-fourths of companies now offer incentives to motivate employees to participate in employee-sponsored wellness programs. Components most likely to be incentivized include health risk assessments and tobacco cessation programs.

• Biometric testing is now incorporated by 60 percent of corporate wellness programs while 40 percent of employers provide incentives for completing the tests.

• One in ten employers has begun to incentivize the achievement of biometric targets.

Key findings regarding automation in companies with over 500 employees include:

• About one-third use a paper-based benefits enrollment process for new hires while 81 percent of employers manually monitor incomplete enrollments.

• Just 36 percent of employers have an automated age out process for cancelling coverage.

• Over one-third of employers continue to manually reconcile paper health insurance invoices against records, if they reconcile at all.

 

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