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Wellness Incentives for Small Businesses

Posted Aug 26 2008 11:45am
Quickly, I like what they are doing in DesMoines in terms of incentives for small businesses who adopt wellness programs . To quote:

"Wellness Incentives and Health Insurance Tax Credits for Small Business – The Partnership supports incentives for businesses to implement wellness and prevention programs for its employees. Wellness and prevention programs can decrease the financial burdens of health care and make employees healthier. The incentives may include tax credits for preventative and maintenance health care and wellness services, such as smoking cessation treatments, lifestyle changes, regular doctor visits, disease management, screenings, and health and fitness facilities. The Partnership also supports passage of focused tax credits, especially for small businesses, to increase the affordability of private health insurance and decrease the number of uninsured Iowans."

What I don't like are employee wellness programs that are founded on penalties. This is an amazing story, 55,000 UC Staff have opted out of their wellness program and nurses at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center reject the same proposal and begin a strike. The program started out with a $75 incentive for completing the health risk questionaire, but they plan to increase insurance rates by $100-$200 per month based on the results. In addition, UC reserved the right to send the employees HRA results to their health insurance providers. In my experience, that is not the way to get buy in on your wellness program. I wonder how long it will take them to regain staff confidence and build morale. That is an example of a wellness program that does not result in a positive return on investment.
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