ROSELAND, N.J., Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the past year, 70% of midsized U.S. companies experienced a significant increase in the cost of providing employee healthcare and 91% cited controlling these costs as a priority, according to a study from the ADP Research Institute(SM). As these escalating costs impact midsized companies' ability to compete, an expert panel convened last night to examine how employee wellness programs can empower employers to offset health expenses so they can focus on business growth.
Employers save an average of $5.81 for every dollar invested in wellness programs due to improved employee health, according to the American Journal of Health Promotion. The savings are the result of a 27% reduction in employee sick leave, a 26% reduction in health costs and a 32% decrease in workers' compensation and disability claims.
"Wellness programs are one of the most important, yet overlooked tools for maintaining personal health," said panelist Dr. Alfred Tallia, Professor and Chair of Family Medicine and Community Health at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. "With diabetes and obesity steadily on the rise, there's no better time to spread awareness about the physical benefits of wellness programs."
Moderated by Bloomberg BusinessweekSenior Editor Diane Brady, the panel also featured executives from ADP®, a leading provider of employee benefits administration services, and The Vitality Group, a global actuarial-based wellness program provider.
ADP and The Vitality Group recently announced a partnership to help midsized companies control healthcare costs with the ADP Vitality Wellness Program, an incentive-based wellness offering that motivates employees to make healthier life choices and helps lower individual healthcare costs. The interactive web-based wellness portal features health risk assessments, biometric screenings and personalized wellness plans with recommended goals and activities. As employees achieve plan goals, they earn points toward lowering their health plan contributions.
According to Intelisys, a telecom master agency focused exclusively on supporting the channel's top-producing sales agents, Amy Konakis, Senior Manager, Human Resources, said, "We recently purchased the ADP Vitality Wellness Solution because it allows our employees the ability to control their wellness benefits. It encourages employees to be healthy by giving them ideas, information and support. Healthy employees make for a happier, more productive workforce."
In the same ADP Research Institute study noted above, 45% of midsized businesses already offer employee wellness programs. The challenge for these companies – and other midsized employers considering wellness programs – is evaluating program performance to drive employee engagement and program effectiveness.
"Our research shows a 168% increase in health insurance premiums between 1999 and 2011, which places tremendous pressure on midsized companies already struggling to grow in a challenging economy," said panelist Jessica Saperstein, Division Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at ADP. "Employee wellness programs are an attractive cost-containment strategy and we've seen midmarket demand for these programs grow dramatically."
"We're achieving impressive results in changing behavior towards healthier lifestyles," said Alan Pollard, Chief Executive Officer for The Vitality Group. "While people are not naturally drawn towards making healthy choices, we've seen that with a combination of education, incentives and other tools we are able to make an impact. The end result benefits not only the employee, but also the employer."
About The Vitality Group
The Vitality Group is a member of Discovery Holdings Limited. Vitality wellness programs serve more than 4 million members worldwide in companies in a wide range of sizes and industry categories, improving individuals' health and well-being as well as employers' bottom lines. For more information about The Vitality Group, visit www.thevitalitygroup.com.
About the ADP Research Institute(SM)
The ADP Research Institute is a specialized group within ADP that provides insights to leaders in both the private and public sectors around issues of human capital management, employment trends and workforce strategy. For more information about the ADP Research Institute, visit: http://www.adp.com/research.
Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADP), with more than $10 billion in revenues and approximately 600,000 clients, is one of the world's largest providers of business outsourcing solutions. Leveraging over 60 years of experience, ADP offers a wide range of human resource, payroll services, tax and benefits administration solutions from a single source. ADP's easy-to-use solutions for employers provide superior value to companies of all types and sizes. ADP is also a leading provider of integrated computing solutions to auto, truck, motorcycle, marine, recreational vehicle, and heavy equipment dealers throughout the world. For more information about ADP or to contact a local ADP sales office, reach us at 1.800.225.5237 or visit the company's Web site at www.ADP.com.
Senior Director, Corporate Communications, ADP
Weber Shandwick for ADP
Conway Communication for The Vitality Group
 Why You Should Care About Wellness Programs, ADP Research Institute, 2011
 Massive Study Shows True Return on Wellness Plan Investment, HRMorning.com, 2012
 Why You Should Care About Wellness ProgramsADP Research Institute, 2011
SOURCE Automatic Data Processing, Inc.