Perry Braun, market leader, large group market for Medical Mutual, is responsible for sales and services to all customer groups of 100 or more as well as the state government and the retirement system. Braun’s experience outside of the company includes leading strategic planning efforts, human resource functions, financial management and reporting. Earlier in his career, Braun worked in the industry with mid and large-group employer markets with brokers, consultants and customers.
Q. Do employee wellness programs have an effect on insurance costs to employers?
Yes. Wellness and prevention programs are beneficial if you can get employees to change their behavior. If this happens, there will be near- and long-term benefits. With compliance, employees that begin to live healthier will be more focused on the job, use less sick days and be more productive, which will make a measurable difference. In the long term, you can witness a reduction in insurance costs.
Q. What is the first step to creating an employee wellness program?
You need to know how your employees learn and what they are receptive to. You can send them health tips via e-mail, in an employee newsletter, direct them to online sites and make them aware of counselors provided through your insurance company. Working with your insurance company will make you aware of free and low-cost options and tools available to you.
Q. How can an employer determine what the most important points are when helping employees?
It’s always a good idea to help employees be more active. You can initiate walking programs by mile-marking paths around the office. If you have a cafeteria or vending machines in the office, make sure you have healthy options. You’ll need to communicate with employees to get feedback and see what is working best with your employee population, but if you make a plan (free or at a cost), you’ll be most successful if you map out steps for employees and make healthy living part of your culture. Accessibility plays a role in compliance, so the more healthy options you put in front of them, the more successful you’ll be in reducing insurance rates and increasing productivity.