Wellness programs lack participation due to privacy, convenience concerns
Although employers and insurers increasingly turn to wellness programs to help lower healthcare costs, participation and engagement rates are still lacking. And according to a recent survey sponsored by Humana, privacy concerns and lack of time are the leading obstacles to employees participating in their companies' wellness programs.
Conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of Humana, the study surveyed 225 U.S.-based company executives and 630 full-time employees. Among eligible employees who chose not to participate in their company's wellness program, 58 percent cited privacy concerns, while 41 percent said they don't have enough time.
That's why employers and insurers must effectively communicate wellness program goals and privacy protections. "The most effective messaging to employees should be proactive and transparent in assuring employees know how the data will be used, what the privacy protections are and what the employer can and cannot see," Kevin Volpp, founding director of the Leonard Davis Institute Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, said in the survey report.
When asked which services would motivate them to participate in a wellness program, 61 percent of employees cited the need for wellness activity time allowed during business hours, 58 percent said onsite health and wellness facilities and 55 percent said subsidized gym memberships or onsite fitness facility.
Lackluster incentives are another factor causing poor engagement in wellness programs, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.
"Our results show that under the right circumstances, employees are in fact willing to share their personal health data, which is a critical insight for employers looking to optimize their wellness program," Beth Bierbower, president of Humana's employer group segment, said in a statement.
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