Cost Effective Wellness Strategies

Fall. Cooler days, pretty colored leaves, football. Yup, that’s fall for some…for the rest of us, it’s decision time about your benefit programs.

And I can confidently say that the cost of benefit programs for 2017 is on your mind. I know because clients and prospective clients as well as employees of our clients have been calling and asking about cost increases.

The short answer: “I don’t know yet” what the plan changes, including cost increases, or decreases (let’s hope!) are in store for 2017.

But there are things you, as a small business owner, can do right now to combat higher costs. Have you implemented a wellness program for your employees?

Companies like Google®, L.L. Bean®, and Zappos.com® have the ability to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on wellness programs for their employees. They can build state-of-the-art gym facilities, walking trails around the corporate campus, and offer any number of wellness services to benefit their workers, as well as monetary incentives.

For the average employer and small business owners, this type of programming is nearly impossible. Small business owners may not have money to spend on these types of wellness programs, but I know you recognize the value of investing in the health and well-being for your employees.

For small business owners looking to offer “voluntary” wellness programs on a limited budget, look no further than your employee benefits packages. Most employees do not utilize their benefits to their full potential. Motivating and incentivizing your employees to use the benefits that are already provided can be a great way to launch a wellness program. Insurance carriers provide preventive screening schedules that can be used to guide your employees to seek regular medical check-ups at no cost to them. Utilizing the schedule can help employees take control of their health and potentially prevent catastrophic health events before they occur.

Several carriers offer great discount programs on top national brands to make living a healthy lifestyle more fun and affordable. Discounts include gym memberships, weight loss programs, tobacco cessation resources, gym apparel and equipment, and other fitness and nutrition resources.

Utilizing local and national resources is also a great way to educate employees on good, healthy behaviors at a limited cost. Organizations such as the American Heart Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control offer free, online education resources and information tool kits. Local organizations may have access to grants that can help offset the costs of tobacco cessation and nutrition programming. Local chapters may even offer onsite lunch and learns and be willing to participate in your company health fair.

Remember, small business owners do not have to break the bank to offer their employees great wellness programs. Take a look at what is offered through your current benefits and educate your employees on how to take full advantage of what they offer. Do not be afraid to reach out to local organizations to see what kind of free or low-cost programming is available.

An easy first step is to create and post a checklist for health and well-being. Add these activities:

  • Get an annual physical, dental, and vision exam
  • Take advantage of preventative cancer screenings (skin, colonoscopy, mammogram, etc.)
  • Utilize the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Get a flu shot (depending on the size of your company you may be able to have flu clinic onsite)
  • Complete a biometric screening
  • Complete online health coaching on a health topic through the insurance carrier portal
  • Attend a company lunch and learn on a health related topic
  • Participate in an office health challenge (step, weight loss, etc.)
  • Volunteer in your community
  • Participate in a community walk, run, bike event (we do this at annually at The Cleveland Company and it’s a great team builder as well as lots of fun!)

In addition to wellness program, you may want to consider the PreferredOne Simplicity program. With PreferredOne Simplicity employees can mean extra savings on your employer health benefits. This is a great solution for companies with 25+ employees.

Like traditional plans, it has comprehensive coverage, a large open access network, and low monthly rates. But the difference is that PreferredOne Simplicity returns any unused funding that has been set aside for your medical plans.

PreferredOne’s Simplicity pays you back 100{bcdee29d8ece072d76c660bfa283f395bc73ff9272f7bb81f739f49cdd20ae0b} of the unused claims fund. For more details, view the short video on our home page: www.clevelandcompany.com

“The Cleveland Company has been a trusted partner of ImageSensing Systems (ISS) for over a decade. They have aided our organization in remaining competitively aligned by offering top tier, affordable healthcare and benefits. At the same time, The Cleveland Company helped ISS manager the financial impact of a dynamic, often difficult to understand, healthcare environment. The knowledgeable team at The Cleveland Company is always ready to roll up their sleeves to help us meet the needs of ISS employees.”

Becky Degendorfer, SPHR, Human Resources Director, ImageSensingSystems

And if you want more information on the Simplicity program or anything else that can help you manage your benefits costs, please contact us at The Cleveland Company.

 

Be well,

John

 

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