Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Workplace wellness programs can cut chronic illness costs

Date:
January 6, 2014
Source:
RAND Corporation
Summary:
Workplace wellness programs have the potential to reduce health risks and cut health care spending, but employers and policymakers should not take for granted that the lifestyle management components of the programs can reduce costs or lead to savings overall.

Workplace wellness programs can lower health care costs in workers with chronic diseases, but components of the programs that encourage workers to adopt healthier lifestyles may not reduce health costs or lead to lower net savings, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Examining a large employee wellness program offered by PepsiCo, researchers found that efforts to help employees manage chronic illnesses saved $3.78 in health care costs for every $1 invested in the effort.

However, the program's lifestyle management components that encourage healthy living did not deliver returns that were higher than the costs. The results are published in the January edition of the journal Health Affairs.

"The PepsiCo program provides a substantial return for the investment made in helping employees manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease," said Dr. Soeren Mattke, the study's senior author and a senior natural scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "But the lifestyle management component of the program -- while delivering benefits -- did not provide more savings than it cost to offer."

RAND researchers say that with any prevention effort, it is often easier to achieve cost savings in people with higher baseline spending, as found among those who participated in the PepsiCo disease management program. Interestingly, the disease management participants who also joined the lifestyle management program experienced significantly higher savings, which suggests that proper targeting can improve the financial performance of lifestyle management programs.

"While workplace wellness programs have the potential to reduce health risks and cut health care spending, employers and policymakers should not take for granted that the lifestyle management components of the programs can reduce costs or lead to savings overall," Mattke said.

Workplace health and wellness programs are becoming an increasingly common workplace benefit in the United States. The federal Affordable Care Act has several provisions designed to promote such efforts as a way to lower health care costs.

A recent RAND study conducted for the U.S. Department of Labor found that about half of U.S. employers with at least 50 workers and more than 90 percent of those with more than 50,000 workers offered a wellness program during 2012.

The current RAND study provides an assessment of over seven years of PepsiCo's Healthy Living wellness program. The program includes numerous components, including health risk assessments, on-site wellness events, lifestyle management, disease management, complex care management and a nurse advice phone line. The study evaluated the experiences of more than 67,000 workers who were eligible for the disease management or lifestyle management programs.

Researchers found that the disease management program reduced costs among participants by $136 per member per month, or $1,632 annually, driven by a 29 percent drop in hospital admissions. Among people who participated in both the disease management and lifestyle management programs, the savings were $160 per month with a 66 percent drop in hospital admissions.

People who participated in the lifestyle management program reported a small reduction in absenteeism, but there was no significant effect on health care costs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by RAND Corporation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. P. Caloyeras, H. Liu, E. Exum, M. Broderick, S. Mattke. Managing Manifest Diseases, But Not Health Risks, Saved PepsiCo Money Over Seven Years. Health Affairs, 2014; 33 (1): 124 DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2013.0625

Cite This Page:

RAND Corporation. "Workplace wellness programs can cut chronic illness costs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140106190145.htm>.
RAND Corporation. (2014, January 6). Workplace wellness programs can cut chronic illness costs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140106190145.htm
RAND Corporation. "Workplace wellness programs can cut chronic illness costs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140106190145.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins