The Business Case for Investing in Worksite Health Promotion

The ability of the US businesses to compete and be sustainable is threatened by health care costs.
  • The fastest growing cost for employers are employee health benefits. For an average Fortune 500 company, overall health benefit costs are projected to exceed profits by 2008. 1
  • The number of businesses offering health benefits is decreasing, from 69% in 2000 compared to 60% in 2009. 2
  • The amount of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spent on health care is projected to increase from 15.9% in 2003 to 19.3% in 2019. 3
  • Health care costs will be impacted exponentially by health risks and chronic illnesses associated with an aging workforce. 4
Investments in prevention, health risk reduction and disease management programs have demonstrated returns on investment; and are a viable way for businesses to address the health of their employees and their bottom lines. 

Savings per dollar invested in worksite health promotion programs.

From a review of 73 published studies of worksite health promotion programs 5
  • Average $3.50-to-$1 savings-to-cost ratio in reduced absenteeism and health care costs.
From a meta-review of 56 published studies of worksite health promotion programs 6
  • Average 27 percent reduction in sick leave absenteeism
  • Average 26 percent reduction in health costs
  • Average 32 percent reduction in workers' compensation and disability management claims costs
  • Average $5.81-to-$1 savings-to-cost ratio
In a critical review of 12 new studies published between 2000 and 2004, all studies reported "favorable clinical and/or cost outcomes." 7
 

1  The McKinsey Quarterly. Will health benefits eclipse profits? Available at: www.mckinseyquarterly.com/newsletters/chartfocus/2004_09.htm. Accessed April 10, 2007.
2  Kaiser Family Foundation. Employer health benefits: 2009 annual survey. Available at: www.ehbs.kff.org/pdf/2009/7936.pdf . Accessed February 4, 2010.
3  Truffer C, Keehan S, Smith S, Cylus J, Sisko A,  Poisal J, Lizonitz J., and Clements M. U.S. health spending projections through 2019: The Recession’s Impact Continues. Health Affairs. March 2010: 2.
4  Garret N, Martini M. Labor force projections to 2016: more workers in their golden years. Monthly Labor Review. November 2007:33-52
 
5  Aldana SG. Financial impact of health promotion programs: a compre¬hensive review of the literature. Am J Health Promotion. 2001;15(5):296-320.
6  Chapman LS. Meta-evaluation of worksite health promotion economic return studies: 2005 Update. Am J Health Promotion. 2005 Jul-Aug;19(6):1-11.

7  Pelletier KR. A review and analysis of the clinical and cost-effectiveness studies of comprehensive health promotion and disease management programs at the worksite: update VI 2000-2004. J Occup Environ Med. 2005;47(10): 1051-1058.

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