Increase in Workplace Health Costs

Recent research by Mercer Marsh Benefits has identified that the cost of providing health related benefits in EMEA companies rose by 3.6% in 2012. Now with budgets being reduced at every opportunity there is a clear need for addressing these increasing costs.     

Organisations need to consider methods for reducing these costs by implementing a proactive health and wellbeing strategy.   Developing a healthy culture can reduce both short and long term costs, combined with the opportunity of engaging staff into making more positive lifestyle.  Information from other sources can be very helpful in identifying where to focus energies such as Sickness Absence Data, PMI and Healthcare related costs usage, plus Employee Assistance Programme uptake.  Additionally staff surveys can establish what employees would like to see in the workplace (not always what the business needs, but often very useful to engage staff). 

An annual health and wellbeing programme can include various initiatives to tackle workplace health, including onsite health checks (from basic health tests including blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes awareness days – to more comprehensive workplace health screening including full lipid breakdown and urinalysis), workshops/seminars, health promotional events and many others.  By taking this approach, various focuses can be built into the programme saving time when planning out the annual plan.

The report also found health benefit costs as a percentage of UK payroll averaged 3.5% in 2011 and many of the UK respondents attributed the cost increase to the impact of large claims.   There has always been a very strong business case for employee health and wellbeing services in particular from a return on investment (ROI) and engagement perspective so it makes commercial sense to devise a programme around your company and your staff.  

By reviewing health related data and costs and creating a wellbeing strategy around this, everyone wins.  Staff have the opportunity of learning/finding out about their own health status, and this in turns often motivates staff to make positive lifestyle changes – and the organisation benefit from establishing potential health risk before claims are made, which subsequently reduces the amount of claims made each year, therefore reducing premiums.