Common Sense Compliance: Designing Wellness Programs

Tasha Patterson@Work


Design a Wellness Program to Support Both Employees and Compliance

By Marjory Robertson, Esq.

AVP, Senior Counsel
Sun Life U.S.

By Abigail O’Connell, Esq.

Senior Counsel
Sun Life U.S.

Developing a wellness program that works for your organization requires you to establish objectives, meet specific needs, and provide accessibility and options, all while maintaining compliance with privacy and anti-discrimination laws. You have many options for types of wellness programs such as fitness, stress management, smoking cessation, and mental health. Incentives such as premium discounts, health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement account (HRA) contributions, and cash rewards can help drive participation. A thoughtfully designed wellness program can impact overall healthcare and disability spending, productivity, and absence.

Set goals that align with your employees’ needs. Your health and disability vendors can provide de-identified data to benchmark your employee population against that of employers of similar sizes and industries. For example, your population may have experienced cardiovascular health issues with a higher frequency than anticipated compared to your insurer’s total block of business experience or similar industries. Understanding your experience in the context of the larger pool of employers can support a targeted design to increase the impact of the program outcomes for your specific employee population.

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