As a nation, and especially as business owners, we are confronted with a pressing predicament:

What can we do to curb the unhealthy choices (i.e., poor diet and exercise habits) of our citizens in an effort to lessen future healthcare costs? Can we – and how do we – incentivize our workers through workplace wellness programs to a point that their unhealthy behavior wanes so the promise for a healthier and more fiscally responsible country can wax? What will it cost for us to continue to facilitate these initiatives, and how is this effort expected to evolve over time to maximize its ROI?

Answering these questions is important because health care is expensive. The unhealthier our employees are, the more we all pay today, tomorrow and in the years to come.

However, as the Affordable Care Act begins to ramp up, it will add a layer of relevancy and significance to finding a solution to this complicated and reasonably underexplored problem. Specifically, the ACA will endorse provisions for promoting wellness and incentives in the workplace. This means 2014 could be a landmark year for applying innovative wellness programs with greater incentives. In turn, this could help employees value and participate more in these programs than ever before, ultimately reducing unnecessary healthcare costs from being incurred.

To truly understand why and how workplace wellness programs and incentives have been wrought and are expected to be shaped, NARFA recommends a Deloitte University Press article, Breaking constraints: Can incentives change consumer health choices? This piece takes a closer look at what workplace wellness programs and incentives currently mean and what they could and should mean to employers, employees, and the U.S. health care system. In order to identify how wellness programs and incentives can be better executed in the future, Deloitte explores the constraints that muddied previous attempts at successfully integrating these programs. Deloitte also interprets the data that’s been exposed to date regarding these programs and incentives.

As always, contact NARFA to learn more about our own rewards program and how it can benefit your business today.

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