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Buck Consultants Reports Wellness Programs Are Truly Global; Objectives Vary by Region
Date:10/10/2007

itiatives achieve their underlying business goals.

Among U.S. respondents, 33 percent report a reduction in health care cost trend rate attributable to their wellness initiatives, with about half reporting a reduction of two to five trend percentage points per year.

"That's a significant financial return," said Hall. "But consider the remaining 67 percent of U.S. employers. Their lack of measurable success in this area is likely due to a combination of factors. Many newly minted wellness initiatives have not yet had time to generate a measurable impact, and some employers may not have the capability to measure such results. Furthermore, not all employers have yet found the most effective tools and programs to achieve the impact they desire or expect. Clearly, many employers still have work to do to demonstrate the return on investment necessary to ensure senior management's continued support of their programs."

The components of global wellness initiatives vary by region. The most frequently used worldwide are employee assistance programs (EAPs), health risk assessments (HRAs), and immunizations (such as flu shots). The fastest growing program components around the world include technology-driven tools, such as Web portals, online programs, and personal health records. Some geographic areas predict significant growth in these elements (30 to 50 percent) over the next one to three years. Hall observed, "By making the programs more personalized and action-oriented, these cost-effective tools seek to deliver greater participation and results than the one-size-fits-all efforts of earlier wellness initiatives."

Transforming company culture -- and even leveraging peer pressure -- is another growing tactic, with worksite programs such as employee health fairs and workplace wellness competitions on the rise.

Survey respondents spend an average of US$135 per employee per year on wellness programs, although some spend more than US$500 per employe
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SOURCE Affiliated Computer Services, Inc.
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