Corporate employers plan to spend an average of $521 per employee on wellness-based incentives in 2013. This marks an increase of 13% from the average of $460 per employee reported in 2011, and double the per-employee average of $260 reported in 2009, according to an employer survey by the nonprofit National Business Group on Health and Fidelity Investments.
Data for the survey were collected in October and November 2012 from a sample of 120 U.S. companies spanning a range of fewer than 2,000 to more than 50,000 employees.
In addition to higher spending on wellness-based incentives, the survey found that the overall use of these incentives among corporate employers continues to increase. Nearly nine out of 10 employers (86%) surveyed indicated that they offered wellness-based incentives, an increase from 73% in 2011 and 57% in 2009.
The most popular wellness-based incentives continue to be:
• A decrease in premiums (offered by 61% of employers).
• Cash or gift cards (55%).
• Employer-sponsored contribution to a health savings account or similar heath care-based savings vehicle (27%).
While the percentage of employers offering wellness-based incentives has risen across all markets, the results illustrated significant growth in the midmarket, where 77% of employers plan to offer wellness-based incentives in 2013 -- more than double the 38 percentage of midmarket employers that offered such incentives in 2010. In addition, almost half of employers in the midmarket (45%) plan to offer average incentives of more than $500 per employee.
A majority of employers (54%) will expand their wellness-based incentives to include dependents, up from 45% in 2011. And almost half (49%) will include spouses/dependents in communications about wellness programs.
Requiring risk assessment or biometric testing
Fifteen percent of employers are mandating that employees complete a health activity -- like an employer-sponsored biometric screening or a health risk assessment -- in order to determine their eligibility for one or all of the company's health plans in 2013. The survey results furth