Wellness Programs at Work
A recent article in the Los Angeles Times discussed some uncommon perks that are becoming more commonplace. Specifically, wellness programs offered through your work and maybe even through your healthcare insurer. If you need help with chronic health problems, weight gain, quitting smoking, or other wellness issues these services may be a good place to look. Wellness programs can help you learn to become more physically active, teach proper nutrition, or show you how to reduce stress in your life. These programs can help keep down increasing healthcare costs through promoting preventative wellness care. There is a rise in lifestyle diseases (diabetes, heart disease, etc.) and these diseases can lead to higher health costs and can even lower employee productivity. Here are some tips on how to take charge of your health.
Availability: Find out what your company has to offer. Workplaces offering exercise areas, seminars about health, discounts on gym memberships, counseling, and other programs are becoming increasingly common.
Incentives: Some companies give you incentives when you start taking better care of yourself through participation in these programs. Due to rising health costs and poor lifestyle habits, companies want to see the progress made by their employees. Surveys have shown that companies are now tying rewards and penalties to some programs (weight loss, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation). Be proactive and get involved. Certain companies may link poor health choices to healthcare surcharges.
Alternatives: Employers, by law, must offer alternative ways of earning incentives and avoiding penalties. When in doubt you can always see if there are alternative therapies/programs. You may be able to avoid higher healthcare surcharges by simply being enrolled in a program, such as smoking cessation.
Wellness is for everyone: Even if you are already in good health, you might benefit from such programs. They can put you in touch with personal trainers, chiropractors, MD’s, nutritionists, and other practitioners that might cost you a lot of money otherwise. Some of these programs offer technology you may not have paid for otherwise. There is something for everyone.
Ask your employer and insurer: If you buy insurance on your own, check directly with them to find out what they have to offer. Most health insurances have something to offer.
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This information is for educational purposes only. Seek the advice of a health specialist before making any changes to your healthcare.