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As congress debates the future of health care Americans are feeling the pinch.
More than a quarter of small businesses.
Have reported a premium increase of -- -- percent or more.
Many -- and big businesses are taking matters into their own hands.
Providing health guidance and Jim access for their employees -- wellness broke.
-- We decided I'd be very important.
Both for the company and for our employees to institute wellness programs which would help them.
-- better educated consumers more knowledgeable.
And find ways to improve their own health.
These programs have been around for decades but have gained prominence in the last few years.
Faced with rising health care costs for his 300 employees.
-- accompanying national reprographics CEO Doug Magid started offering a wellness program in 2005.
We were experiencing and usual annual increases probably in -- range of ten to 15% a year every year.
And if it was a bad year -- could be 20%.
And as that would compound the year after year.
And the costs especially ethical as a small business the cost of covering that became just prohibitive.
The idea is simple improve employees' health and that individual insurance -- -- I doubt.
And -- there isn't any hard evidence that wellness programs mitigate health care costs many company is I jumping on the bandwagon.
We -- most midsize and large -- -- Implementing some kind of wellness program because they're finally understanding that if we can prevent.
Employees from getting things like diabetes and cardiovascular disease and becoming overweight.
That we're gonna save money in the long run by not paying for those health care expenses.
-- -- -- executive director of the New York business group on health.
Advocates for employee health programs and says employers need to take them seriously and employees need to see them as more than accompany -- For a wellness program to really work it should be as targeted as possible to the health issues of the employees in the organization.
Because employers only do have a certain amount of money to spend on these programs.
And David get the most bang for their buck by investing in the programs that help the employees the -- So far Scotts Miracle-Gro is among the companies with the most rigid health programs out there.
Charging employees and their spouses a -- for not participating.
-- -- company has also gotten a lot stricter where put its money.
Five years ago -- stopped relying on major insurance providers and began self funding his own insurance care.
We never wanted to get to a point where.
We would have to drastically reduce our medical.
Plan for or employees.
Or ever have to discontinue it.
Like some other companies have needed to so.
We decide we need to go in a different direction the innovative and look for other ways to go about.
Creating an affordable plan for associates.
And -- Magid says he's -- a heap of money with his own insurance care.
He's not sure whether the wellness program he's got very has provided any real savings yet.
But he hopes it will have a positive role in the future.
The major cost than any medical plan -- the catastrophic claims it's not the every day doctor visits that add up even though there may be.
Thousands of them it's few individuals.
Who run up.
I'm claims and fortunately a fifty -- 100000 dollars plus.
And some of those conditions.
May be preventable and clearly some are.
And we feel with wellness programs and educating people over the long term we can prevent some of these nature claims.
And he's serious about cost containment.
Starting 2011 -- an RIA employees don't take advantage of the live well program.
They might have to pay more out of pocket for their insurance.
With so much health -- cash on -- -- Pickering stats this attitude of -- up or pay -- is becoming more popular.
I think employers are losing their tolerance.
For employees that engage and -- health behavior.
Miracle-Gro certainly seems to have lost patience another part of its initiative is a smoking cessation program.
-- poses a surcharge on employees who continue to smoke.
And when I asked -- caring whether or not this was infringing on employee rights.
She's -- with companies -- health bells it's not necessarily unfair.
I think an employer might reply back to the idea that this is American I have the free will smoke a fight one that right this America you have the free will smoking go find an employer that well except employees that smoke because we're not going to have.
I'm Christina Scotty.
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