Seattle, WA (PRWEB) June 14, 2013
Healthcare reform is set to take affect on January 1st, 2014 and while most insurance and health care professionals are scrambling to stay updated with the slew of pending changes, wellness professionals learned more about the fate of health-contingent wellness programs in late May.
Few modifications have been made to the The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996's nondiscrimination wellness regulations, as regulated by the Department of Labor, U.S. Departments of the Treasury, and Department of Health and Human Services, making navigating the wellness realm of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a little less cumbersome. The final rule states that there are still two categories of employer-sponsored wellness programs: activity-based wellness programs, and health-contingent wellness programs.
Activity-based wellness programs reward employees simply for participating in a company-sponsored health initiative, which can be as easy as going on a lunchtime walk as a part of a ‘get moving’ program. On the other hand, outcome-based programs require a specific outcome in order to be eligible for rewards, such as reducing one’s body mass index (BMI) or seeing an improvement in one’s cholesterol levels, as measured through health risk assessments or another medical evaluation.
While each type of program comes with a list of limitations and exceptions, the desired result is the same: help employers engage their populations in physical activities, which in turn will help them reduce their health care expenses.
Wellness programs are seen by employees as a nice gesture, but can cost their employer thousands of dollars if funds are misallocated, which will usually happen if wellness programs are implemented blindly. In order to offer programs that will address the concerns and prominent risk conditions of their unique staff, it is imperative that employers define what their group’s health needs are, then find vendors and programs to improve these conditions, which will keep people from migrating into a sicker, and more costlier, segment.
When determining if an activity-based or an outcome-based program is right for your organization, be sure to answer the following questions:
1) What is your budget?
2) How will you track success? Do you have analytics or metrics in place?
3) What is your internal communication strategy?
4) How engaged is your C-suite? Will they be willing to participate in the initiatives alongside their employees?
If you have trouble answering any of these questions, help is at your fingertips. Healthentic offers a Wellness Decision Engine product, which are designed to help employers easily understand their population’s health status and current areas of concern. From there, they can recommend wellness programs which will help combat these problems, and show trends over time with a powerful analytics dashboard which will track progress and population migration.
Interested in learning how your organization can use wellness to manage the changes coming forth with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act? Contact Healthentic Today to take ownership of your data and improve the lives of your employees.