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As our industry continues to evolve, new evidence is emerging in support of including spouses in wellness programs that include the use of outcomes-based incentives. Adding spouses to your wellness program makes sense for many reasons, the obvious being that some spouses may not have the benefit of health education and programs in their work setting. Also, many employers report a large percentage of high cost cases are coming from spouses, and a disproportionate amount of claims spending is coming from spouse and dependent claims. Therefore, spouse engagement in wellness can be a critical part of the overall success of your employee benefits strategy.
Recent analysis of Bravo Wellness’ book of business confirms that when spouses play a proactive role in their health, the covered employee’s health improves more rapidly as well.
This analysis shows the percentage of employees who moved from high risk to moderate or low risk within one year of their Bravo screening. The darker blue bars in the chart above show that a very significant percentage of people in employee-only plans address their health risks. While impressive on its own, the lighter blue bars – reflecting employee health improvement in spouse-inclusive plans – are even better. Employee health noticeably improves when spouses have the same opportunities to engage in the wellness programs that the employees do.
The Keys to Spouse Engagement
When it comes to effectively engaging spouses in your outcomes-based wellness incentive program, there are some key things to keep in mind:
- Clear, concise and positive communications about the program to employees and spouses are essential. This is a message about personal responsibility and how solving the health care crisis requires everyone to do their part. It is also a message about how living a healthier lifestyle can mean more time spent being active with family and friends. Providing spouses with equal access to wellness programs and resources, coaching, and incentives will spark interest, enthusiasm, and real behavior change for both spouses and employees.
- According to the Health Management Research Center at the University of Michigan, reducing one or two risk factors with employees or spouses can mean a substantial savings of $3,000 per risk factor for the employer. This means even small health improvements or progress can have a large impact.
- Spouse involvement can be simple! Bravo Wellness excels in the ability to use a combination of walk-in clinics with vouchers, onsite screenings, or provider packets where spouses can go to their own personal physician. We can create a simple and effective way to engage spouses in your outcomes-based incentive strategy.
Regulations and Spouse Engagement
The regulations and guidelines that govern the outcomes-based wellness industry are still evolving. One thing that is clear is that existing regulations and proposed regulations both state that if covered spouses are not engaged in the wellness program, the amount of incentive an employer can tie to the outcomes-based program is limited to the cost of employee-only coverage (20% currently, moving to 30% in 2014). Bravo expects many more organizations to include spouses in their outcomes-based wellness incentive programs.
Spouse engagement in outcomes-based incentive programs is not only permitted, it is a recommended best practice. As the industry continues to grow, adding spouses is sure to be a rapidly evolving component of a well-designed wellness strategy. The keys to success are clear and ongoing communication, along with the effective handling of logistical challenges that might arise. Working with an experienced partner like Bravo Wellness, who can handle all of your communication and logistics needs, can help make spouse engagement a successful part of your outcomes-based incentive strategy.
Contact your account manager or sales representative to discuss adding spouses to your wellness program.
CLEVELAND, OH – February 18, 2013 – Bravo Wellness is pleased to announce the promotion and appointment of Chris Shanahan to Vice President, Business Development. This promotion reflects the organization’s commitment to strengthen its position in key markets by expanding awareness of Bravo’s specialized solutions for the design and administration of outcomes-based wellness programs. Outcomes-based plans are often viewed as intricate in nature and Bravo’s consulting in the plan modeling and design allows their clients to make the best value-based decisions on where to invest time and resources for a greater return on investment.
“Chris’ promotion is a result of his significant contribution to the company and the respect earned from his peers, clients and business partners,” stated Cheryl Tidwell, Bravo’s Executive Vice President, Business Development. “With over 20 years of business development experience, his unique skill set in building strategic partnerships and thinking outside the box will continue to play a critical role in the evaluation of target markets for business planning purposes and advancing Bravo Wellness as the leader in administering participation-based, progress-based, and outcomes-based wellness programs.”
About Bravo Wellness –Bravo Wellness is the thought leader in wellness incentive programs. Bravo’s market leadership provides unique insights into industry best practices, identifies ways to mitigate the cost of healthcare, and minimized potential legal risks or concerns. Through our best practices, Bravo helps employers engage their employees, foster personal accountability, and bring about real behavior change towards health and wellness. Bravo Wellness and its subsidiary, IncentiSoft Solutions, are headquartered in Cleveland, OH. For more information, visit www.bravowell.com.
The definition of integration is “the act of combining or adding parts to make a unified whole.” The key term in this definition is “unified whole” because it means that to be integrated, you have to act as one. You can’t just put a group of people in the same room and call them integrated. They have to work together and function as a whole to be truly integrated and effective.
When a wellness provider claims they can integrate with your current wellness program or vendors, it is important to examine exactly what they mean.
Do they mean that they can work together as a unified whole with your current program and vendors, or do they just co-exist with them? The difference between the two can make or break your wellness program and can either cause or eliminate a lot of headaches and issues. Here are some questions you should be asking to determine if a wellness provider can integrate:
- Can data and results be transferred and processed easily between the provider and your current vendors?
- Can the wellness provider work with your current vendors to provide a unified participant experience, from registration to program completion?
- Does the wellness provider have a list of standards addressing security, data accuracy, uniformity of service, timeliness and insurance that must be followed to ensure all service expectations are met?
At Bravo, we have over 40 wellness partners, screening providers and other vendors that we work with to provide you with a comprehensive wellness solution. If you have a wellness program already in place with vendors that you prefer to use, we can work with them and aggregate the data to provide a unified program for your employees. This can eliminate possible headaches and issues, allowing the focus to be on developing a healthier, more productive workforce.
So when you see or hear the term “integrated” used by a wellness company, make sure you’re dealing with a “unified whole”, and not a room full of strangers.