Survey: 71 percent of consumers want employee wellness programs

By Aditi Pai
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HealthMineSeventy one percent of consumers want their employer or health plan to offer a program or a set of guidelines that helps them manage their health, according to a recent Survey Sampling International poll of 562 consumers with company-sponsored health plans. The survey was commissioned by San Francisco-based HealthMine, which offers employers and health plans a white-label health improvement program for web and mobile devices.

Another 75 percent of consumers want their health plan or employer to offer incentives to help them improve their health.

A smaller percentage, 66 percent of consumers, said that if their colleagues were in a healthy weight range, they should be rewarded with a discount on their health insurance. And 52 percent of consumers said that if their colleagues with chronic diseases adhere to their medication regimen, they should be rewarded for it. 

HealthMine CEO Bryce Williams said the company commissioned the survey in light of the EEOC seeking fair rules and guidelines for voluntary employer wellness programs.

Just last week a report in The Hill quoted a senator as saying that the EEOC would be publishing new guidelines for employee wellness programs "very shortly". One of the core debates about employer-sponsored wellness programs is what exactly constitutes a "voluntary" program.

"...Our survey indicates that consumers want employers to offer incentives and rewards to help them manage their health," Williams said. "Our eight years of experience helping employers improve outcomes and lower costs using incentive-based personal clinical engagement reinforces this direction. We believe that the EEOC recommendations should enthusiastically support employers in meaningfully encouraging employees to improve their health."