Improve employee productivity through better health

APRIL 2014


~~Investing in a healthy workforce can help increase productivity levels of employees, according to recent research from Optum. One study determined that net productivity losses were $158-$1,601 more per year for each person with a health risk or condition. A second study suggested that an employee who engages with a health coach, health advocate, or nurse and makes improvements in health or reductions in health risks, is likely to become more productive.

~~ 1. Health risks lower productivity
Employees with high-risk health factors had on average 77% more annual absences than low-risk individuals. And those with medium-risk had 40% more absences than their low-risk counterparts on a yearly average. Employees with medium- or high-risk health issues also had dramtically higher presenteeism rates, meaning they came to work but suffered limited productivity levels.

~~ 2. Productivity loss by lifestyle risk factor
Smokers cost their company $326 in annual net lost productivity. Following that lifestyle risk factor, high blood pressure cost $230 in net lost productivity.

~~ 3. Productivity loss by health condition
Health conditions, like cancer, bronchitis and depression also cost employers in lost productivity. The study determined that net productivity losses were $158-$1,601 more per year for each person with a health risk or condition. This added up to $3.8 million in productivity loss for a typical large employer with 10,000 employees. People with a condition or risk missed on average two days of work due to illness and nine days due to limited performance at work.

~~ 4. Health promotion programs saved employer money
Individuals who participated in a health promotion program and successfully improved their health care or lifestyle showed significant improvements in lost work time. Specifically, Optum program participants were more productive than those who were eligible to participate but did not and on average experienced productivity savings per participant of $353 per year.

Health Care Reform Spurs Move To Defined Contribution Benefits Model

~~April 14, 2014 
~~Employees take control of their benefit selections, creating an opportunity for voluntary benefits NEWARK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Full implementation of the Affordable Care Act by 2015 is prompting employers to rethink the way they offer benefits, with many increasingly eyeing a transition to defined contribution (DC) benefit models. According to Group Benefits and the Defined Contribution Model, the second in a series of five research briefs based on the Prudential Insurance Company of America’s (Prudential’s) Eighth Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond, nearly half (47%) of employers report they are moving or have moved to a DC model. “Clearly, strong financial needs assessment tools, educational materials, and communications are critical in helping employees make the best decisions for their financial wellness. Our keen focus remains on partnering with and supporting our brokers and employers so that employees can make these decisions”

Employers say the top two reasons for contemplating a switch to DC benefit models are to lower health care costs and to offer their employees more choice in the allocation of their benefit dollars (59% and 40%, respectively).

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