By Sheena Harrison
Workplace wellness programs can reduce medical costs by more than 18 percent for the average worker, according to a report published by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
The January edition of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, published by the Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based ACOEM, includes a study titled “Medical Care Savings From Workplace Wellness Programs: What Is a Realistic Savings Potential?”
The report said wellness programs could reduce costs for risks such as physical inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure and obesity. If the risk factors were lowered to “theoretical minimums,” health care expenses could be lowered by an average of $650, or 18.4 percent, for all working adults, the study said.
Cost savings can reach up to 28 percent for aging employees and retirees who participate in wellness programs, according to the study.
“Medical care savings from workplace wellness programs will increase with time given that more eligible wellness program members participate, effective control of heightened risk factors improves, and greater risk reversal can be achieved,” the report says.