What Lies Ahead For Worksite Wellness Programs?

worksite wellnessEarlier this week, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) announced that they will no longer award premium credit to employers with fewer than 100 eligible employees based upon participation in their Healthy Outcomes Group Wellness Program.  We anticipate this to be a trend among all carriers for similar sized groups.

While this news may come as a surprise to many, when you think about the change to community rating  that is scheduled to launch in 2016, it begins to make more sense . In this upcoming change, all fully insured groups with under 100 employees will no longer be impacted by claims experience or health factors.

This begs the question as to whether employers in this size market segment will continue to see value in spending time and resources on worksite wellness and medical management initiatives.

Certainly employers who move to a self-funded model could continue to see an impact in their claims.  However, for those employers who continue on the fully insured platform, it will be interesting to see if they value wellness programs for reasons other than a direct impact on medical claims/rates.  These other reasons might include:

  • desire to be a destination employer,
  • increased productivity,
  • decreased absenteeism,
  • decreased Worker’s Comp claims,
  • increased employee morale, etc.

While I believe a strong case can continue to be made for the reasons stated above, I am curious to see the direction employers decide to go with this as they have future strategic discussion.