Starting a workplace wellness program is awesome for your employees. It gets them aware of and involved with maintaining healthy habits while in the workplace. The hope is that it will translate into behaviors even at home. However, when doing claims and utilization analysis, it is often found that the families of the employees are a major source of high cost. This can be for a number of reasons. It should be the goal of any workplace wellness program that the healthy messages translate into healthy family practices.
Family involvement can often make a difference because of the social support and encouragement it provides. Healthy behavior can be influenced and reinforced by family members’ health habits. The healthier all family members are, the more likely your employee will be healthy, and vice versa. Get everyone involved by sponsoring events that include employees’ spouses and dependents, and provide education for living healthy as a family. Allow flexible scheduling for increased family time, especially when an employee or dependent is sick.
Additionally, it is very common that the families of employees do not fully understand the benefits plans that are provided by your company. It will be a worthwhile investment to email or postal mail the families of your employees an explanation of benefits. You could also include families in open enrollment meetings or even have an additional open enrollment meeting exclusively for employees’ families. This investment of time or postage could save you thousands of dollars in the long run on costs related to utilization.
Taking steps to include families in your workplace wellness program will create a synergy of healthy living for your employees as well as their dependents. Combining that synergy with a full education of how to use the benefits program will make great strides in creating healthier families and lower costs for your company.
-Stephanie Gray- CCWS, CPT, MS