Most likely, your employee health insurance is the biggest investment in your benefits package. Since health insurance companies work on a risk and cost basis, the health and fitness of each employee directly influence your bottom line.
When it comes to interventions that save money on healthcare spending, it is hard to beat an effective fitness program.
“Health experts often remark that if exercise came in pill form it would be the most sought-after drug on the market.” – June 2013 issue of Psychology and Aging.
The Psychology and Aging study noted the obvious well-known benefits of exercise including a stronger heart and lungs, maintaining bone density, strength and stamina, controlling blood sugar and regulating hormone balance. The study was looking at the cognitive benefits of an active lifestyle but noted it is nearly impossible to separate physical and mental wellness.
Common sense tells us that when employees suffer from physical illness or mental health concerns, their productivity declines and they require more healthcare treatment and interventions.
Over the years, public health, medical and business research researched the cost savings associated with a successful employee wellness program. Results vary depending on participation as well as program design.
The Rand Corp. estimated an overall ROI of $1.50 for every dollar employers invest in employee wellness programs. They measured the return based on healthcare cost savings and sick leave. Rand raised the point that this analysis doesn’t clearly reflect benefits from increased productivity or improved morale and employee retention.
By their own admission, Rand’s study likely underestimated the long-term savings from lifestyle changes that prevent the employee from developing serious conditions like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.
For example, the benefits of exercise for a sedentary employee who already has diabetes reflect immediate healthcare savings, but what about that sedentary employee who is pre-diabetic then optimizes their blood sugar through increased activity, improved diet and weight loss? The real healthcare savings may be even higher than estimated.
The American Journal of Cardiology published research by Dr. Richard Milani and Dr. Carl Lavie focused on expert-created fitness programs for employees and spouse’s associated with one large company. Participants were not heart patients, but some had risk factors such as high body fat levels, high blood pressure, and a history of unresolved stress and anxiety.
At the end of the six-month program, more than half of the high-risk participants became low risk by improving their fitness. The medical costs from those participants decreased by $1,421 per participant compared to the previous year. The researchers estimated a $6 healthcare savings for every $1 spent on an employee fitness program like the one studied.
That study highlighted the higher rewards associated with fitness programs that employees constantly follow over time.
Over the years countless researchers noted that employee participation is one of the top barriers to successful employee fitness programs. After all, any gym member notices how well the average new exerciser sticks to a fitness program simply by observing the gym parking lot in early January compared to March every year.
Fitbod offers a solution. So many people indicate they struggle to find time to go to the gym due to their work and family commitments. A three-pronged approach helps:
Schedule a brief demo to learn how Fitbod can help your company save on healthcare costs.