4 wellness trends to watch in 2012

From outcomes-based incentives to helping employees through the health care maze to social media, there’s a lot in store this year for employer wellness programs. Beena Thomas, MPH, vice president, health and wellness for OptumHealth, gives us her take on the top four wellness trends of 2012.

Beyond the carrot and stick


Expect the emergence of a more sophisticated approach to incentives, says Thomas. Some employers, especially those with a lot of wellness program experience, will be emphasizing outcomes rather than just participation. “More progressive employers are looking at outcomes-based incentives,” she says.

So instead of giving traditional incentives ($50 to join a gym, for example), they will require that employees pass biometric screenings to receive discounts on their health insurance premiums. Those who don’t meet the necessary biometric levels would have to enroll in a wellness program and after achieving a healthy body mass index and other biometric numbers, would then be eligible for the discounts.




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