You know there’s a hot debate around an issue when people on both sides of the matter insist that there’s really no debate at all.

yoga wellnessSuch is the case with corporate wellness programs, in general, and whether they can be expected to deliver a positive financial outcome for the company, in particular. The debate has been simmering along for a few years, but it may come to a boil as 2018 nears.

That’s when employers will face an onerous, perhaps even ruinous 40% excise tax on health benefits costing above threshold amounts, as stipulated by the Affordable Care Act. Many companies are looking at wellness programs as a key element of their quest to hold down costs and thereby escape the so-called “Cadillac Tax.”

Will those be prudent investments? Here are four distinctly differing takes on the financial implications of these programs:

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3 responses to “Are Wellness Programs Cost Effective?”

  1. Good article. I’ve run wellness programs for some of America’s largest employers. If you look at the results the way a steely-eyed CFO does you’d see a negative ROI. Wellness companies measure people who’ve been helped by wellness programs but none measure people who’ve been harmed, e.g., by getting a false positive results on a wellness-induced test which required expensive and invasive follow up procedures. Not one wellness vendor I’ve ever spoke with even attempts to measure that. As any CFO knows to determine an ROI one has to measure total benefits and total costs, not just the administration fees. Tom Emerick

  2. Since it is not precisely known which employees are helped, there is nothing that can be measured, which is probably why wellness vendors keep making claims which are statistically impossible and sometimes just made up.

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