Many employers are concerned with finding ROI in wellness plans and wonder how they can incentivize employees while still remaining in compliance with HIPAA regulations. At EBA’s Workplace Benefits Summit Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn., Winston Ball, chief operating officer for hubbub health, Michelle Clark, health and performance director of the central region for HUB International, and Brandi Williams, director of human resources of Producers Dairy Foods, participated in a panel discussion focused on the intersection of wellness and digital health in answering these concerns.

“To find ROI [on wellness] can be very difficult today,” Ball said. “You may need 1-3 years of claims data. You need to be able to compare claims data from year to year and compare claims data that has not served wellness either.”

Hubbub health’s Winston Ball speaks at EBA's Workplace Benefits Summit in Nashville, Tenn.m on Sept. 28.
Hubbub health’s Winston Ball speaks at EBA's Workplace Benefits Summit in Nashville, Tenn.m on Sept. 28. Cort Olsen/EBA

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Williams said that not all incentives need to revolve around money or prizes, but to just engage employees in healthy competition between one another based on their physical wellness status.

“It’s not just about the person that runs a marathon every month or so, they are definitely a part of this journey, but also the everyday average Joe who is just trying to walking their dog around the block that we need to connect with,” Williams said. “Through challenges, we have been able to bring in some healthy competition and it is super funny how competitive these guys get.”

The main question
Clark said the main question every adviser needs to solve is why someone would want to enroll into a wellness program and how the client can hone in on that reason.

“What more is out there in terms of getting [employees] involved,” Clarks said. “Do you want to boost energy, do you want to just feel better about yourself, do you want to be able to wake up every morning and get started embracing that day, do you want more sleep or better sleep, do you want more sex or better sex? It could be anything.”

It’s also important to encourage employees to continue to support the wellness program outside of the nine-to-five work shifts, the panelists said.

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“If you think having a wellness program and submitting HSAs to your employees to complete, it is not going to get you there, because you have to be able to have a connection to the community around you and you have to extend yourself beyond your employee,” Ball says. “I grew up very poor, so the flavors for me were just blue and red, so it is important to educate people on what they don’t know.”

Clark stressed to the audience that advisers must press for integration amongst the different branches of a business to build a strong wellness program.

“This is not a silo. You cannot just have workers’ comp, wellness and benefits, and expect them to be working operationally in silos,” Clark says. “They really do need to be integrated by the people who are handling them within an organization making sure that everyone is talking about taking care of the entire person.”

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