Wouldn't it be great if the cost of health insurance benefits fell all by itself? Since that is not likely to happen, the only way for you to save money is to be proactive. You can do just that by implementing a number of strategies that encourage your employees to live more healthy lives. When they are healthier, they do not spend as much money on healthcare, and that helps to keep your health insurance costs as low as possible.
The whole concept of wellness as a means of containing healthcare costs is nothing new. That was the idea behind the development of the HMO system back in the 1970s. Unfortunately, not until recently have we realized that personal wellness is more about attitude than going to the doctor to get a prescription.
If you are interested in promoting wellness among your employees in order to reduce healthcare costs, here are some suggestions that can be implemented rather easily:
Encourage Gym Membership and Participation
While corporate giants have the money to build on-site gyms for their employees, small businesses do not have that luxury. But that doesn't mean encouraging daily exercise is impossible. You can still do so by working with a local gym to offer a cheaper group rate to your employees. Then encourage staff to start exercise clubs that will meet at regular times during the week. You might even consider subsidizing the memberships as an incentive. The amount you spend on subsidies will likely be made up in reduced healthcare costs.
Sponsor Annual Health Screenings
One of the easiest and least expensive things you can do to promote wellness among employees is to sponsor annual health screenings. As an example, many local chapters of the American Red Cross offer free blood pressure screenings several times a year. It would take very little effort to get your local chapter to visit your workplace to do a screening, especially if you coordinate it with a blood drive.
You can also contact local doctors’ offices and ask if they are willing to sponsor a health fair using one of your meeting rooms. Employees could come in to get their blood pressure checked, ask questions about immunizations, and learn about things such as obesity and diabetes.
Focus on Better Nutrition
There's nothing wrong with having snack and soda machines in your office. But if you have room for them, you also have room for healthier alternatives. Work with your vendor to provide more nutritional options including fresh fruit and water. In addition, look at sponsoring some sort of nutritional presentation once or twice per year. There are probably several nutritionists in your local area who would be willing to address your staff.
Encourage a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do for your employees is to encourage a healthy work-life balance. Far too many workers live under the false impression that they need to be married to their employers in order to keep their jobs or remain in line for promotions. They need to know that you respect their time away from work and that you actually want them to have a productive life away from the office.
Encourage workers to take their vacations. Encourage them to limit overtime. Encourage them to take up hobbies and activities that will help relieve stress and give them quality time with family.
Health insurance is a fact of life in the era of ACA compliance. But you can help contain your health insurance costs by proactively encouraging wellness among your staff.