Businesses try tough love on health

By Keith Regan
Contributing Writer
Though most would rather dangle a carrot than wield a stick, more businesses are moving toward a tough-love approach to corporate-wellness programs, with employees who don’t participate facing higher health-insurance premiums and other financial penalties. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



Focus: HUMAN RESOURCES

Businesses try tough love on health

PBN PHOTO/TRACY JENKINS
WELL WISHES: Cooley Group Human Resources Director Deb Bedrosian with extruder operators Tyrone West, left, and Saroeun Teang. Bedrosian says there is much more awareness of health issues now than in the past.
By Keith Regan
Contributing Writer
Posted 6/17/13

Though most would rather dangle a carrot than wield a stick, more businesses are moving toward a tough-love approach to corporate-wellness programs, with employees who don’t participate facing higher health-insurance premiums and other financial penalties.

Financial incentives and noncash prizes have long been a staple of such programs, providing employees a motivation to participate in everything from biometric screenings to walking programs, nutritional seminars and stress-reduction programs.

But nationally, more businesses have begun to move past rewards, taking a hard line with employees who resist efforts to take part in preventive programs. A national survey by Aon Consulting released in March found that 5 percent of companies are using penalties alone, while 16 percent use a combination of incentives and penalties. However, more than half of the companies in the survey said they are planning to make the shift to imposing penalties for nonparticipation.

That trend is reflected among some Rhode Island businesses, said Kim Cormier, director of consumer activation at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island in Providence.

“We have seen an evolution to where some companies are now including penalties for employees who are nonparticipants,” Cormier said. “As more companies see how beneficial participation in wellness programs is, they are beginning to look at tying those penalties to medical-insurance costs.”

Dr. Peter Salgo, an ICU doctor, author and TV host, who spoke at the recent Worksite Health Awards event sponsored by Blue Cross and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, said he knows of one national company that charges employees who refuse to quit smoking an extra $650 a month for health-insurance coverage.

And CVS Caremark Corp. in Woonsocket sparked a reaction when it announced plans to begin docking employees as much as $600 for failing to get involved in wellness activities. “That ought to be a powerful motivator,” Salgo said.

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Join PBN and two panels of successful female executives, business owners and entrepreneurs as we delve into what women should do to advance their careers, and become leaders in the corporate world and their own enterprises.
  • Book of Lists Party
    Save the date - January 15, 2015 for PBN's Book of Lists Party at the Providence ...
  • Best Places to Work
    Enrollment is now open for the 7th annual Best Places to Work program. Winners w ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement