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Survey Finds Employers Plan to Continue or Expand Health & Productivity Programs in Spite of Tough Economy
Date:9/14/2009

Improving health key to health care reform success; healthy employees are viewed as a competitive advantage

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the non-profit Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) released a preliminary result from a survey of more than 400 employers indicating that less than five percent plan to reduce or eliminate health and productivity programs. This flies in the face of recent reports that employers are likely to eliminate wellness programs as a cost-saving measure.

"For health care reform to be successful we must focus on improving health and the importance of a healthy workforce or we will have a recipe for disaster that will cost the system more money than we can afford," said Thomas Parry, Ph.D., president of IBI. "Employers understand this and are continuing, overall, to offer and improve their health and productivity management programs as is evidenced by our latest research."

More than 30% plan to increase resources

The survey conducted with Harris Interactive found that five percent or fewer of the employers with HPM (health and productivity management) initiatives plan to reduce or eliminate their programs. In fact, for 18 of the 26 programs surveyed only one percent or fewer said they had reduction or elimination plans. Instead, employers are far more likely to expand the resources they commit to an existing HPM program. For 12 of the 26 programs, more than 30 percent of employers with a program plan to increase resources in the next two years.

Employer HPM programs likely to see such levels of increased support include: participation incentives, nutritious meals/snacks, chronic disease management, weight management, nutrition education, fitness programs, value-based benefits, health risk assessments, stress reduction education and others.

"We view our HPM programs as critical to improving the health and productivity of our employees," said David Kasper, vice president, Employee Benefits, Waste Management. "By aligning incentives to encourage our employees to complete health assessments and also rewarding certain behaviors, we are able to see benefits resulting from healthier employees and family members as well as improved productivity. This helps to improve our competitive position in the market, enables us to further invest in the health of our employees and our business and deliver improved shareholder returns."

The full research results will be available later this year. A detailed analysis and a discussion of relevance to employers will be presented at the 2010 IBI/NBCH Health & Productivity Forum being held February 8-10 in San Antonio.

About the Integrated Benefits Institute

The Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) provides employers and their supplier partners with resources for proving the business value of health. As a pioneer, leader and nonprofit supplier of health and productivity research, measurement and benchmarking, IBI is a trusted source for benefits performance analysis, practical solutions, and forums for information and education. IBI's programs, resources and expert networks advance understanding about the link between - and the impact of - health-related productivity on corporate America's bottom line. For additional information visit: ibiweb.org.

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Thomas Parry

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SOURCE Integrated Benefits Institute
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