If you work for a large-scale corporation there’s probably a good chance you’ve encountered a company wellness program. If not, it’s likely that you’ll encounter one in the near future. Corporate wellness incentive programs are increasingly popular among companies that offer health insurance coverage, in part, due to the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act.
The idea behind wellness programs is to promote healthy habits. Theoretically, healthier employees—those who don’t smoke, exercise regularly, etc.—are less expensive to insure. Should you opt-in to your company’s wellness program? Here are some things to consider:
Pros: Requirements like quitting tobacco products or exercising regularly could pay off for your overall wellness and longevity in addition to monetary incentives from your employer.
Cons: Opponents of wellness programs argue that the policies are often far too invasive and coercive, asking staff members questions about family planning and alcohol use. Those who opt-in may also be required to submit to extensive medical tests. Even more concerning, economists have found that wellness programs rarely reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke within a company’s population.
Still, the American Heart Association recently revealed its own set of standards based on scientific evidence that should guide more corporate wellness programs towards reducing health risks among employees. While it’s ultimately up to the individual to opt into a wellness program, the real question is why not try to improve your personal health?
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