2013 Healthiest Employers: Wellness now embraces broader goals

The value of a healthy employee is more than a reduction in claims

August 15, 2013

In 2009, we launched the Healthiest Employers awards with the goal of empowering employers with actionable information. Today, after surveying more than 4,000 employers, including 63 of the Fortune 100, we are pleased to say that our initiative is working.

More than 1,000 organizations representing more than 50 million employees have received the designation of Healthiest Employers, and the statistics are proving why.

This year, participating Indiana employers averaged a score of 69.72 HEI (Healthiest Employer Index), well above the national average of 55.42(see chart). That is a significant increase from 2012.

We have seen an across-the-board increase in national scores at all levels. Some may be surprised to hear that Indiana employers have consistently outpaced their national peers in adopting new ideas and programs. As an Indiana employer, we are proud to call this our home.

The last three years have been particularly tumultuous as the industry has prepared for a major shift toward healthcare reform implementation. Some employers have chosen to pretend this will go away or are confounded to a point of apathy, while others are preparing for a waterfall of change. Whatever your perspective, a major transformation to America’s healthcare system is happening.

So many are asking the question of the wellness industry– Are you still valuable? The recent Rand study and the American Medical Association’s decision to define obesity as a disease cause some to question the relevancy of corporate wellness. If engagement is truly getting harder and obesity can now be treated with a pill do we really need health coaches, wellness portals and social contests to make us healthy?

Early adopters of wellness focused on the value of lowering claims costs. It was believed that if we could educate and intervene we could effectively guide individuals into the system before a catastrophe occurred.

The years that followed proved invaluable. Not only did medical claims begin to retreat but so did absenteeism and workers comp claims. Then something interesting started to happen. As employers shifted their focus from claims to the health of their employee, a new vision and reward became clear.

We came to realize that employee health is evergreen.

Beyond the cost associated with care, the health of an employee represents a continual opportunity. Societies, governments and employers of all sizes will always have an interest in keeping their populations healthy. And I believe we will all discover that the health of a population defines its strength.

Fortunately, employers around the globe understand that the value of a healthy employee goes beyond a medical claim. So, to all those who have participated in this year’s event, I say thank you for your vision and leadership.

I am ever excited about the changing face of corporate wellness and for the future that it holds. I’d like to personally congratulate all those involved and awarded the designation as a Healthiest Employer. Your efforts not only improve your organization but the lives of each employee, family member and child. Keep up the good work and Be Well!•

Rod Reasen II, CEO
Healthiest Employer LLC

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