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Health and Wellness Programs in the Workplace — Fact Sheet


July 2014—The findings of recent national surveys on employer-sponsored wellness programs show that 50-80% of employers offer some type of workplace wellness programs. While the majority of employers offer incentives to encourage employees to enroll in the programs, participation levels have been relatively low, ranging from 20-50%. Some reductions in employee health risk and health care cost savings have been reported by employers who have evaluated their programs. Large employers have reported improvements in medical cost trends.

Facts include:

  • Are employers offering programs to promote health and well-being?
    Most surveys show that 50% or more of employers offer some type of health and wellness program. Among large employers, 60-80% do so. Since large employers are more likely to offer wellness programs, more than 75% of US employees have access to such programs.
  • Do employers encourage their employees to enroll in health promotion programs?
    More than half of employers offering wellness programs include some type of financial incentive to encourage employees to participate.
  • Do employees participate in health promotion programs?
    Some do,
    but uptake rates vary. Participation is highest for health risk appraisals (50%). Participation rates for interventions such as lifestyle change and disease management are much lower (10-20%).
  • Have health and wellness programs been successful in promoting health and reducing health care costs?
    Many employers report that they have not evaluated the impact of wellness program. Among those that have, about one third of employers report improvements in health risks, while almost half report no change. Among very large employers who have measured return on investment, almost 80% say they have seen positive impacts on medical cost trends. While most employers express confidence that wellness programs will produce improvements, less than half rank their health and productivity programs as successful.

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