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Medical Care Savings From Workplace Wellness Programs: What Is a Realistic Savings Potential?

Bolnick, Howard MBA, FSA; Millard, Francois FSA; Dugas, Jonathan P. PhD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31827db98f
Original Articles
Abstract

Background: Workplace wellness programs have become increasingly popular despite large inconsistencies in the analyses of their ability to produce long-term medical care savings.

Objective: To clarify the aforesaid situation by estimating potential long-term medical care savings linked to chronic disease.

Methods: We combined data from the Global Burden of Disease Study and Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys to estimate the annual savings that would result from lowering risk factors typically managed by workplace wellness programs to their theoretical minimums.

Results: Lowering risk factors to their theoretical minimums, if this were possible, would reduce average annual costs per working-age adult by 18.4%.

Conclusion: These findings have important implications for workplace wellness programs because they provide a robust estimate of potential savings.

Author Information

From The Vitality Group, Chicago, Ill.

Address correspondence to: Jonathan P. Dugas, PhD, The Vitality Group, 200 W Monroe, Ste 2100, Chicago, IL 60606 (jdugas@thevitalitygroup.com).

This work was not funded by the National Institutes of Health, Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, or any other funding agency.

Authors Bolnick and Dugas have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM Editorial Board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

©2013The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine