Wellness programs don't lower health-care costs, study finds.

Position:News & Numbers - Report

Lifestyle management portions of workplace wellness programs were not found to reduce health-care costs, according to Workplace Wellness Programs, a study by the Rand Corporation for the U.S. Department of Labor. A previous study from Rand indicated that lifestyle management participation is associated with reduced employee health risks (such as smoking and being overweight), but not with lower health-care costs. This study looked for cost savings in higher-risk employees and those who are more engaged in the program, but found none.

If similar findings were reproduced in future research, it would imply that screening large numbers of individuals for health risks combined with education and one-on-one coaching for those with risks is not effective enough to have a meaningful impact on the health of America's workers or the cost of health coverage.

About four-fifths of all U.S. employers with more than 1,000 employees are estimated to offer such programs. For those larger employers, program offerings cover a range of screening activities, interventions to encourage healthy lifestyles, and support for employees with chronic conditions. Smaller employers...

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