More and more health plans are providing low- or no-cost wellness benefits. While this may be an upfront cost to plans, it often reflects long-term cost savings as participants remain healthy or become healthier. Health plans may consider providing the following popular wellness benefits.
On-site, free flu vaccines, which reduce risk of contracting the flu by 40-60%, are a common seasonal benefit. Flu vaccines may be combined with another popular type of wellness benefit, the health fair. Health fairs bring together under one roof key players in the health plan such as the administrator and pharmacy benefit manager. The health fair allows participants to talk with these key players face-to-face to better understand the health plan and its benefits. The health fair may also bring in medical providers, and provide clinical wellness benefits such as the flu vaccine or physical.
Health Risk Assessments are also gaining popularity. A Health Risk Assessment is a questionnaire that collects information on lifestyle, personal medical history, family medical history, and an individual’s basic physiological data like blood pressure and cholesterol. Individuals receive feedback on their health after completing the assessment. Health plans may also offer programs addressing specific conditions, such as health and lifestyle coaching to improve chronic conditions, or a smoking cessation program to encourage participants to quit smoking. Often, health plans provide a financial incentive to encourage individuals to participate in these wellness benefits.
As health care costs continue to rise, wellness benefits represent a relatively low-cost option to encourage individuals to remain healthy, and thus keep costs as low as possible.