With the overwhelming cost of healthcare in the United States and the preponderance of employer sponsored health care, it is no surprise that workplace wellness plans (WWPs), promising to improve employees’ health and reduce healthcare costs, are on the rise. The effectiveness of WWPs in delivering cost savings has been debated over the past several decades as researchers attempted to replicate the savings promised by early case studies and minimize the biases of those studies. The purpose of this literature review article is to summarize the historical debate concerning whether WWPs save employers’ healthcare expenditures and weigh the evidence to determine if they deliver what they have promised. Ultimately, the bulk of the recent research has demonstrated that although WWPs can deliver some health outcome improvements, these improvements have not correlated to a reduction in healthcare costs. Despite this evidence, researchers and wellness companies argue that several factors regarding program design and implementation could demonstrate cost savings in future research. Additionally, several evidence-based best practices and trends have emerged, such as the comprehensiveness of the program, communication to employees, employee engagement, and focusing on key risk factors in the program design.
"Workplace Wellness Programs: Do Programs Impact Employer Healthcare Costs?,"
SPNHA Review: Vol. 18:
1, Article 8.
Available at: https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/spnhareview/vol18/iss1/8