The study, conducted by the University of Virginia School for Health Economics, concludes that a shift away from a traditional employer health care system, has only a minor negative impact on employer performance as measured by the number of work hours each paid employee earns. While the study does not conclude that workplace wellness programs can save employers money, it suggests that if employers invested in a wellness program, they could find efficiencies from the system’s implementation.
So, where do we draw the line between taking on the individualized care market and reducing costs, and in which case, is it best just to create a large body of evidence proof, and then simply ask them to prove their point on the field?
The main question is whether employers are incentivized to offer employee wellness programs. The long-term cost of individual wellness programs (and perhaps more importantly, for wellness programs to generate new employment) will be reduced or even eliminated. Thus, a shift to a holistic approach and using the data, and their tools, at a public institution such as the VA Health System, is an obvious way to raise the awareness of workplace wellness programs, as well as an effective way to get work done in an industry of some 2 million employees. It also seems plausible for a state or city to pursue implementing large, low-cost wellness programs based on publicly funded private incentives. Moreover, in most states, wellness programs, or workplace wellness programs, are not subject to public funding. In most, most counties, towns and cities, health care companies create some kind of wellness program, such as a personal wellness program, or are limited to participating in a program that provides health care to employees. In most states, individuals and small employers are not required to participate in a wellness program, even under an incentive scheme, because employers don’t have to contribute money or sign contracts. However, in some states, a wellness program may require a small and the employer makes similar payments to the health care provider before they use the facility for any work.
Some of us are surprised to see the results of a study published last year in the Journal of Employee Health Perspectives on a topic that we don’t quite understand, with its potential to lead to a broad range of important public policy changes. The results may not be the best idea, but they could provide important evidence for the status quo, as well.
This is a big issue because we’re only supposed to ask questions about what health care companies and health plans do and offer, but the real question is how to create a society where all employees have equal rights under the law, without being pressured by our national health care providers who might want to pay more in taxes to pay for insurance plans.
As we enter a transition away from healthcare, which is not just about insurance, but about health care for everyone, it’s important for every worker to get informed about what they deserve, and take action to create better job opportunities for the workforce, not just for the wealthy.