Health plan sponsors have two main options when designing their wellness programs—Participatory/Activity or Health-Contingent. Voluntary activity participation tied to some form of incentive sounds good; and there has been research to support it…along with a bevy of wellness vendors who have designed their technical systems to drive this particular model. But, what are you and your participating members really getting from it? Value-based rewards, not tied to a measurable outcome, equate to short-term, non-sustainable health impacts (if there is any impact at all). In short, the plan sponsor is paying a large portion of the health premium and is forking over even more money to pay employees in an attempt to make them healthier, with no clearly defined set of strategic goals. You are ramping up greater costs in hopes that members will “do the right thing” for their health and wellbeing. That’s just not the case because if it were…wouldn’t they be healthier in the first place?
The opposite of this design standard is to develop and deploy a health-contingent model. Some may view this as more of a “stick” to the participatory “carrot”. However, members having clearly defined health maintenance and improvement goals and standards is the only way to ensure sustainable health risk and disease mitigation. This may not be the most easily managed option in terms of logistics and monitoring, as several large name carriers in the health and wellness vendor space are not equipped to deliver on your needs to support it. However, it is the only way in which you are going to be able to truly measure results. For a health-contingent model, you may still assign incentives; but you are setting standards/thresholds for achievement that members have to meet. Incentives geared toward outcomes is money far better spent because your population is actually “moving the needle” toward better health, thus, reducing your long-term cost exposure.
Whatever your plan design choice, FitLyfe’s 360 Platform has the flexibility to support YOU and your company’s unique cultural and programmatic needs. After all, technology should be robust and flexible enough to support your decisions and choices, NOT drive them due to limitations.