21 Jun Growing Evidence for Outcomes-Based Wellness Incentives

Bravo clients demonstrating effectiveness of outcomes-based wellness

CLEVELAND – Measuring the effectiveness of corporate wellness programs has become a daunting task.  Do you calculate the total number of pounds lost? Do you evaluate the number of individuals that lowered their blood pressure? Do you base your success on the number of participants and the feedback they provide? Do you approach it in terms of reduced sick days? Or perhaps the best method is through an analysis of claims cost?  Can the value of wellness programs truly be measured?  Bravo Wellness believes it can, and has seen first-hand how implementing outcomes-based incentive programs has changed the way their clients benefit from corporate wellness programs.

Outcomes-based wellness incentive programs can be described as any method in which a reward or penalty is tied to an individual achieving or making progress toward a standard related to a predetermined health status factor or an improvement goal. When employers design an outcomes-based incentive program as part of their overall wellness strategy, multiple regulatory and HIPAA requirements must be met in order to keep the program fair, legal and compliant. Bravo Wellness administers outcomes-based, improvement-based and participation-based (activity) wellness programs. Although there are advantages to each approach, Bravo’s recommended strategy to ease from activities into results is growing evidence of its efficacy.

A manufacturing client of Bravo’s is committed to helping their employees be healthy and get the most from the health and wellness plan. They are also dedicated to controlling health care costs. What started as a participation-based program with employees earning premium reduction incentives for completing various health activities has become an outcomes-based program that drives accountability and real behavior change towards health and wellness. Since implementing the outcomes-based program administered by Bravo, the manufacture’s employees have seen significant improvements in five of six graded health criteria. Because of this, these healthier employees are reversing the trend of rising medical and pharmaceutical costs for the client; only a 0.6% annual growth rate for those within the program vs. a 7.25% annual rate for non-participants.

Spouse engagement in wellness can be a critical part of the overall success of an employee benefits strategy. An analysis of Bravo Wellness’ book of business confirms that employee health noticeably improves when spouses have the same opportunities to engage in the wellness programs that the employees do. The analysis shows the percentage of employees who moved from high risk to moderate or even low risk within one year of their health screening with Bravo.


*The above information was provided by Bravo’s data analytics department and is based on our book of business.

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.

In addition to the manufacturer’s success, another Bravo Wellness client also saw a dramatic drop in claims costs. As a community-based hospital recognized for the quality of medical care, Southwest General Health Center has a long history of offering a comprehensive and competitive health and wellness plan to its employees. Upon realizing though that their offerings were seeing low participation and not meeting company goals, they slowly integrated their program. After only one year of applying the outcomes-based model, Southwest General’s claims trend decreased from 16% per year to 1% and it has held steady since then.

Read the full Case Study.

These astonishing results are not uncommon for Bravo Wellness clients. Bravo’s clients average 97% participation when one of their typical outcomes-based plans is implemented. Bravo has also mastered the art of creating “cost neutral” plan designs where the employees who don’t achieve all of the goals or complete their alternative means to qualify if they have a medical issue pay just enough more in their contributions to completely fund the entire wellness program. Bravo’s clients are seeing the evidence that outcomes-based incentive programs are not only effective in terms of improving employee and covered spouse’s health, but they are seeing a direct impact to their bottom line.