Health Advocate Blog

Ask a Health Advocate: Why should I participate in my wellness incentive program?

If your company offered to give you cash to get moving, would it motivate you to get off the couch?  Most people already know that they should be exercising regularly and eating plenty of fruits and veggies, but knowledge alone isn’t powerful enough to get many to change their behaviors. Wellness incentives are rewards that employers provide to help encourage employees to participate in activities that can give them the skills and resources they need to eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight, quit smoking, and more.

What types of things are offered as wellness incentives? 

Wellness incentives come in many different forms.  Some popular incentives include cash, gift cards, insurance premium reductions, and contributions to healthcare savings vehicles such as a Health Savings Account or Flexible Savings Account.

How could I benefit from wellness incentives?

In addition to the obvious benefit of getting a reward you’ll enjoy, wellness incentives can also help you get healthier and even reduce your healthcare costs! Wellness incentives are designed to motivate you to break unhealthy habits and adopt new, healthy behaviors.  Chronic diseases and conditions such as heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes are life-threatening, increase the need for costly healthcare, and can lower your overall quality of life.  Many of these conditions are preventable, so it is critical for individuals to take steps—like participating in their employer’s wellness program activities—to prevent and reduce their risk for disease.

How do organizations benefit from wellness incentives?

Employers are in a prime position to influence employee behavior since employees spend a significant portion of their day at the workplace. The ultimate goal for organizations is to lower healthcare costs and to foster a productive, happy, and healthy workforce.

Overall consensus:

Getting rewarded to get healthy is a win-win situation for employers and employees.  Both parties benefit from reduced medical costs and improved productivity. But in the end, employees have the most to gain with longer life expectancy and improved quality of life.

Have a question for a Health Advocate? Email, and your question may be the topic of an upcoming “Ask a Health Advocate” column!