The number of employers offering workers financial incentives to better manage their health is expected to jump sharply next year, according to a new survey.
The survey of 453 large employers by Watson Wyatt Worldwide and the National Business Group on Health, found that:
- Half of employers currently use incentives to encourage their workers to participate in health improvement activities, such as smoking cessation or weight management programs. By 2009, however, that number is expected to leap to 74 percent.
- While the vast majority of employers are rewarding healthy lifestyles, 6 percent are penalizing employees for poorly managing their health conditions.
- Premium or deductible credits are more effective than cash at boosting health risk appraisal participation. Among companies with half of their workforce enrolled in a health risk appraisal, 73 percent offer premium credits and 67 percent offer deductible credits. Cash is offered by 17 percent of those companies while 12 percent offer no incentive.