Healthcare costs are one of the biggest financial headaches for most companies in the United States. The U.S. pays more in healthcare than any other developed nation (by about double!) and doesn’t even produce the best health outcomes. So, how can we reduce healthcare cost?
It’s a big issue, and it can’t be solved by one person or company.
What we can do is try to reduce healthcare cost as much as possible!
Keep reading for six ways to help reduce what your company pays out in healthcare by implementing practical employee wellness initiatives.
Reduce Healthcare Cost
The healthcare industry is vast, complicated, and expensive. But the ways to meaningfully reduce your cost can be quite straightforward.
The idea is that the more wellness opportunities that are readily available to your employees, the more healthy they will tend to be. This, of course, leads to fewer health issues and lower premiums for health insurance.
Unhealthy lifestyle choices lead to a full 75% of healthcare spending! We want to get to know your business and your specific needs, but the following ideas are suitable for any business, and they can seriously reduce your cost.
So, what are some practical wellness ideas that you can implement at your business?
1. It’s All About Culture
People tend to act in similar ways to those around them. Workplace culture has a significant effect on individual employees, and so you should be proactive about creating a culture that values wellness.
This includes some specific ideas that will follow, but also it means an overall appreciation for people as human beings that need to take care of themselves.
Having a workplace that talks about wellness and offers wellness programs and initiatives shows people that you value their health.
Having an ethical workplace culture reduces stress, as well, which is a significant health risk itself.
They will be more likely to participate in healthy behaviors if the work culture values it. This attitude usually comes from the top. So, the boss needs to set the right tone.
2. Promote Physical Movement
You may have heard that “sitting is the new smoking” and as hard to believe as that it is, and the evidence is in. Sitting for long periods does as much damage as obesity or smoking.
Many workplaces involve sitting in an office most of the day, so employees’ health needs to be encouraged with physical activity throughout the day.
This could mean merely encouraging employees to stand up and walk around the office, or even better, outside the office every hour or so.
It could mean creating an environment where employees feel comfortable taking a work call outside.
Perhaps a company-wide stretching or walking time is scheduled a few times a day.
Standing desks are another great way to avoid sitting for long stretches. Many are convertible, so you can spend part of your time seated and part of it standing to do your work.
These little bursts of activity help save your health and will ultimately lower your healthcare costs.
3. Smoking Cessation Programs
Speaking of sitting being as bad as smoking… smoking is still definitely a problem! It will almost certainly be worth the money to offer free or reduced-cost access to smoking cessation programs for your employees.
It is a cost, but it will be worth it to avoid having to cover long, expensive cancer treatments or other chronic health issues caused by smoking.
Many people smoke because they are stressed and need a break. Never make it seem necessary to have a smoke break to get a moment to yourself at work.
There are countless creative ways to accomplish this without a smoking area. Perhaps a 10-minute yoga break, tea time, or a walking path through some greenery would suffice for a moment to yourself during a hectic day.
4. Healthy Food Options
If you and your employees are like most people, you’ll often be tempted to eat whatever is around the break room when you get hungry. In most offices, that means doughnuts a well-meaning coworker brought that morning, or maybe a slice of leftover birthday cake.
These do not help.
Make it part of the culture of your workplace to bring and offer healthy foods. This might include making healthy food available for free right in the breakroom.
Maybe it means offering an in-house cafeteria with all healthy options.
This doesn’t mean you have to outlaw sweets, just make healthy eating the most convenient and regular option in your space.
5. Encourage Preventative Medical Care
Having regular check-ups and going to the doctor at an early sign of a health issue lead to much lower costs and improved health.
It’s important to encourage your employees to actually make use of their healthcare coverage and regularly see a doctor.
There shouldn’t be any stigma or difficulty in scheduling that would discourage them from doing so. Make it easy. Offer a flexible workday for medical appointments with no questions asked.
In fact, encourage it and perhaps even question why someone isn’t taking a half-day to go to appointments from time to time. This all helps to create the culture that communicates that your employees’ wellness is important.
6. Make It Convenient and Normal
In the above ideas, convenience and culture are essential. With any initiative, whether it’s a commitment to quitting smoking or simply having a healthy snack, make it as convenient as possible for employees to make a healthier choice.
Put nuts and fruit in a few stations around the office.
Provide easy access to filtered water instead of soda.
Make it very easy to sign up for a gym membership. Perhaps it’s even right inside your office building.
Anything you want employees to do to be healthier, provide it, and make it the easiest thing to do at work!
Contact Us and Get Started
Implementing the above ideas can help anyone improve wellness and reduce healthcare cost. If you are ready to go further, please contact us. We will take the time to get to know your specific needs and talk about plans that are best for you.
We’re in the business of keeping people healthy at as low a cost as possible!