Increases in health insurance premiums have dramatically outpaced inflation in recent years. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, employers in 2007 will spend an average of nearly $3,785 per year on health insurance premiums for employees enrolled in single policies and $8,824 for family policies. However, preventable illnesses account for approximately 70 percent of the burden of illness and its associated costs, according to a study published in Health Affairs in 1998. Since the majority of Americans-55%-are covered by employer-sponsored health insurance, The Center for Health Improvement focuses its worksite wellness projects on proven, cost-effective health promotion programs and benefits to improve employee health while simultaneously reducing employer costs.
Improving Employee Health Through Worksite and Policy Changes
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CHI, in partnership with the University of Michigan and the California Department of Health Care Services (CDHCS), implemented a program to assess whether physical and social environmental changes in the worksite can make a difference in employee health. This three-year project, called Step UP, implemented changes at the CDHCS' East End campus aimed at encouraging healthy employee behavior regarding nutrition and physical activity. Employees were tasked with recommending changes, which included opening stairwells, organizing walking clubs, and offering nutritious choices in vending machines. Researchers at the University of Michigan analyzed changes in the employee population's health; researchers at the State University of New York examined changes in the worksite environment.
Evidence-Based Approaches to Worksite Wellness
and Employee Health Promotion & Disease Prevention
North Carolina Teachers' and State Employees' Comprehensive Major Medical Plan
Faced with skyrocketing health expenses due in large part to a rise in chronic conditions, North Carolina's state health plan undertook an ambitious effort to address these trends through comprehensive disease management, health promotion, and worksite wellness programs. CHI worked with the North Carolina Institute of Medicine to advise North Carolina by convening several panels of experts from around the country on worksite wellness, assessing health risk assessments (HRAs), effective interventions, and employee incentives for taking HRAs and participating in wellness programs offered at the worksite. CHI also synthesized the experts' findings and crafting recommendations specific to the populations covered by the state health plan.
Exploring Connections Between Work and Health Series
The California Wellness Foundation's Work & Health Initiative
CHI explored connections between work and health by focusing on a diverse range of issues, including family leave benefits, the health impact of California's changing economy, retirement-related health issues, employee mental health, and the relationship between work, health, and technology.
Publications & Resources
"Worksite Wellness Program Keeps Employees Healthy," Center for Health Improvement, Research Brief, July 2008.
Step UP Study Farmer's Market, news release, "State Serves as Model for Worksite Wellness: California Department of Health Services and California Certified Farmers' Markets Bring New Farmers' Market," California Department of Health Services, July 11, 2005.
Evidence-Based Approaches to Worksite Wellness and Employee Health Promotion & Disease Prevention: Executive Summary, North Carolina Institute of Medicine and the Center for Health Improvement, Final Report, April 2005.
Evidence-Based Approaches to Worksite Wellness and Employee Health Promotion & Disease Prevention: Full Report, North Carolina Institute of Medicine and the Center for Health Improvement, Final Report, April 2005.
"Balancing Work and Family:Should California Join Other States in Considering Partially Paid Family Leave?" Exploring Connections Between Work & Health Series by the California Center for Health Improvement, 2000.
"Information Technology and Training: Those Who Have It and Those Who Don't Experts Propose Policies to Bridge
California's Digital Divide, Improve Health," Exploring Connections Between Work & Health Series by the California Center for Health Improvement, 2000.
"Opportunities to Improve Productivity, Mental Health of Workers: AB 88 Important Step for Insured Workers; Needs of Uninsured Loom," Exploring Connections Between Work & Health Series by the California Center for Health Improvement, 2000.
"The Changing Retirement Landscape: Policies Must Improve Work, Retirement Options for a Diverse Baby Boomer Population," Exploring Connections Between Work & Health Series by the California Center for Health Improvement, September 2000.
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