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Survey shows 41% of large employers offer wellness benefit

Forty-one percent of large companies and 10 percent of small firms nationwide are currently offering at least one wellness-related benefit or financial incentives to employees who participate in wellness programs, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.

The survey also found that 18 percent of companies ask their employees to complete health risk assessments, sometimes tying financial penalties or rewards to employees who partake.

More than 34 percent of large companies (those with 200 employees or more) said the programs were designed to cut health care costs.  Being healthy not only benefits the individual but also the company as a whole.  Yet another indicator of the growing popularity of wellness-related programs.

But what is a wellness program?  The following are examples of what would be included in a company’s program:

• Company-wide weight loss programs

• Smoking cessation programs

• Lifestyle or behavioral coaching

• Gym membership discounts

• Nutrition classes

• Wellness newsletters