Insurance Broker Blog

Brokers: Here’s How to Start a Workplace Wellness Program

Wellness programs in the workplace can strengthen relationships

Key takeaways:

  • Your clients may ask some tough questions when you broach the subject of a workplace wellness program. 
  • They may ask “what is in it for me?” The Answer: 72% of employers see a reduction in healthcare costs.
  • You will learn how to help a client decide if they should start an employee wellness program

Employer-sponsored wellness programs are becoming more popular as people learn about the benefits to both their business and their staff. Most businesses see a reduction in healthcare costs and a six-to-one average return on investment (ROI). Wellness programs in the workplace can reduce absenteeism by up to 19 percent. In addition, 84 percent of employers see improved productivity and performance from their employees due to wellness programs.

As a broker, when your clients want to start a wellness program, they will expect you to give them a tailored solution. Communication is key. You are the expert, and they will rely on you to know the ins and outs of wellness programs for employees. With that in mind, we will go over nine of the most frequently asked questions and the answers that will help seal the deal.


How do I help an employer decide on beginning an employee wellness program?

Even if your client wants to start a wellness program, it must make sense for their overall business strategy and blend with their company culture. Some good questions to ask that will lead directly into your supporting statistics include:

  • Is the cost of employee healthcare a concern?
  • How is employee morale? Does it need improvement?
  • Will the C-suite support a wellness program?

These questions will provide things to consider and a chance to highlight the many benefits of a workplace wellness program. If your client answers “yes” to more than one of these questions, then they are ready to start a wellness program.

 
A health-contingent program versus an outcome-based program. What is the difference?

These terms are basically interchangeable, so your client may use either one. To encourage employee participation, outcome-based programs use incentive-led outcomes. This type of program requires employees to achieve specific goals. In return, the employer provides rewards or incentives.

 
If an employee qualifies for a wellness incentive this year, but opts out of insurance coverage for the upcoming year, is my company legally required to honor the incentive?

No, a company is not legally required to honor the incentive. But keep in mind that laws such as the Affordable Care Act, HIPAA, ERISA, and others govern with an eye toward fairness. There is no legal obligation to treat your employees well but if you want to boost morale – which improves productivity – incentives go a long way! Recognize employee wellness efforts with paid time off or another reward, even if they will not be using company benefits.

 
Should an employer that has never had a wellness program start with one that is outcome-based?

This question can be difficult to answer. Program success depends on many factors. However, outcome-based wellness programs have a lot of rules, and rules are not much fun. They complicate things and can turn off employees.

Employers will need to educate their employees on what wellness really is – as it involves more than exercise. There are nine dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, identity, career, intellectual, environmental, financial, spiritual, and social.

Should weight/body size/BMI be used as an outcome-based standard?

 

In a word, “No.” Discussions of body mass index (BMI) and being referred to as overweight can be upsetting for people. It also can be discouraging and make a person too self-conscious to participate in a workplace wellness program. It is all in how the information is delivered and talked about. BMI is not always an accurate indicator of health. It does not account for different demographics, body fat percentage, or fat distribution, all of which play a factor in overall health. 


As a broker, why should I promote a good employee wellness program to my clients?

Every broker who wants to grow their book of business should offer a wellness program, and here are a couple of particularly good reasons:

  • Brokers who offer wellness programs to their clients deepen and strengthen client relationships while growing their book of business
  • Carriers often offer lower rates to employers with a well-designed wellness program that results in fewer claims. Savings come from reduced carrier administrative fees – there is less work and cost when there is a healthy employee population.

 
Should I, as a broker, encourage the use of carrier-based wellness programs?

There are pros and cons to this approach. With a few exceptions, insurance carrier-based wellness programs are simply part of a marketing strategy. However, as a broker, because these wellness programs are usually bundled with other products, on the plus-side, it makes it easier on you. But if the client changes carriers, there goes the program and all its associated data. 

 
How can I make an informed vendor decision?

Marketing is not just the province of insurance companies. Many companies are also touting their wellness programs, so it is important to know what to look for before you decide on a vendor. 

  • Do they have an app? Technology is important, especially when it comes to compliance and data gathering. If a vendor does not have an app, that likely means the rest of their technology is behind the times as well.
  • Is the vendor solution backed by real research? Whitepapers do not count. Anyone can make these look “scientific.” Look for published, peer-reviewed evidence that the program is effective.
  • Are they broker-savvy? If a wellness vendor is not working with insurance brokers, that could be a clue their employer groups are unhappy. 

You work hard to keep your clients, so only partner with a wellness vendor if you are confident that their product can lead to success.


How do I identify clients who are ready to start a wellness program?

To figure out which clients are ready, willing, and able to start a wellness program for employees, look to see if the company leadership is engaged and committed. Chances are the employees will also share this initiative-driven approach. It will help predict participation and health impact most consistently.

 

Get started with Solstice 

Wellness programs offer mutual advantages for employers and employees. As a broker and a trusted advisor, you will want to come prepared with a package that encompasses the best in benefits and wellness for employees. Knowing the answers to these wellness questions can help you do just that.

The most important thing is to start the conversation. Give your clients something to smile about. Click here to Learn more today! 

 

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