Companies that offer health insurance benefits sometimes create wellness programs that employees can participate in. These wellness programs can range from nutritional counseling to exercise competitions. In many cases, the programs are fun and offer some prizes, but they aren't requirements and don't affect the employees' benefits.
Unfortunately, other companies have linked program participation to discounts in health insurance premiums that can severely affect the paychecks of those who choose not to participate. If your company is considering starting a wellness program, be sure that any rewards for participation do not result in discrimination or what could be construed as a penalty. Your employees deserve good health insurance and reasonable premiums whether or not they participate.
Wellness Programs Have Become Requirements in Many Companies
When a company offers health insurance, it typically pays most of the premium cost, with a percentage coming out of each employee's paycheck. Some companies have linked deeper discounts — essentially, the company pays a bigger share of the premium — to participation in a wellness program. This means that those who don't participate could end up with huge premiums that really cut into their paycheck. This makes participation in the wellness program a de facto requirement to get affordable health insurance. That, in turn, can create poor morale at the company.
Instead, Wellness Programs Should Be Additional Options
A better way to handle things is to detach the health insurance premium from the wellness program. Create manageable premium payments for the employees and change the rewards offered for participation in the wellness program. Many employees don't want to give medical information to their employer; they want to keep the information between themselves and their doctors. This is especially the case with sensitive issues like weight or illnesses that affect blood pressure, as wellness programs often focus on these factors. By allowing employees to benefit from health insurance without requiring them to be in extra programs, morale improves and employees are happier. You may even see participation in the wellness programs grow as it's no longer seen as a forced activity.
Ensure All Your Employees Have Equal Insurance Benefits
Employee health insurance premiums will vary to an extent based on the plan they choose and how many dependents they have on the plan. Other than that, the premiums and plan access should be as equal as possible. You can speak with an employee health insurance provider to find out the best way to provide affordable health insurance to every employee in your company.