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Wellness programs: Employers reassessing financial incentives according to study

While employers remain committed to building healthier and more productive workforces, they are frustrated by the inability of many workers to change their health habits. In fact, some employers are tightening their requirements for workers to receive financial incentives, according to a survey conducted by Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW), a global professional services company, and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), a nonprofit association of large U.S. employers.

Currently, more than half (53%) of large employers offer financial incentives to workers who enroll in health engagement activities, such as weight management or smoking cessation programs. Thirty-seven percent of the respondents only reward workers who complete a health engagement activity and 29% require workers to participate in multiple activities.

Respondents found incentives to be most effective at improving completion rates for health risk appraisals and biometric screenings, encouraging employees to enroll in weight management programs, participate in health coaching sessions and maintain personal health records. It was less effective for disease management and smoking cessation.