Despite big health-care cost hikes and the economic downturn, and new legislative regulations,92 percent of U.S. companies offer some kind of health promotion program, increasing from 88 percent in 1995, a new study finds.
The study of 1,020 companies, which was done by Hewitt Associates, the Lincolnshire, Ill.-based benefits consulting firm. Hewitt said in a release that its stucy also found that:
- Seventy-one percent of companies now offer employees some kind of health education or training, a 5 percentage-point increase since 1995. Programs include, seminars, workshops, and counseling for lifestyle habits that contribute to chronic or acute conditions.
- Forty percent of companies offer financial incentive and disincentive programs, compared with 32 percent in 1995. The most common incentives are gifts or money for employees who take part in health appraisals or screenings. Disincentives include charging employees a higher medical or life insurance premiums if they smoke, or giving employees a lower medical benefits if they were not wearing a safety belt while involved in a car accident or were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Twenty-seven percent use health-risk questionnaire) to analyze employees’ health histories and promote early detection of preventable health conditions.
- Seventy-four percent of employers use health screenings, in comparison to 67 who used them percent in 1995. Most use screenings to detect high blood pressure or cholesterol.
- Seventy-seven percent offer employees special programs such as disease and medical management, flu vaccinations, well-baby and well- child care, and prenatal care, compared to 71 percent in 1996.