The number of companies offering health benefits, including everything from a fitness club membership reimbursement programs, weight loss has changed little since the Great Recession began. But employers have increased pressure on employees to form, in any case.
If you quit smoking or lose weight, more and more companies are willing to offer discounts to those hefty premiums today, according to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, published on Monday.
In 2009 only 4 percent of employers offer such benefits for weight loss, compared with 9 percent today. And 20 percent of companies offer a discount for not smoking, compared with 8 percent in 2009.
But the number of companies providing smoking cessation classes remained about 40 percent over the past four years. In addition, a fitness club subsidy actually declined by 31 percent this year, compared with 35 percent in 2009, but up from 30 percent last year. And weight loss programs have remained around 30 per cent mark in 2009, rising slightly this year to 32 percent.
From a financial point of view of health, and more employers want workers to manage their retirement. The study found that 92 percent of companies now offer some contribution retirement plans such as 401 (k), 21 percent, compared with those that offer traditional pensions. In 2008 their number was 83 percent and 33 percent respectively.
“By moving the primary responsibility for managing health and certain financial benefits, employers recognizes the shift in the culture of the workplace,” said Mark Schmidt, vice president of SHRM research. “The new plans allow employees to have more control over how they save for retirement and manage their health while reducing costs for employers. These plans are also more flexible and therefore more attractive to employees who are likely not spend their entire careers with one organization. ”
In another area of employee health management, companies are increasingly raising the medical examination of workers. This year, 21 percent of companies offer insurance discounts to employees who agree to take such a risk assessment for health, compared with 10 percent just three years ago.
Such medical incentives, however, can sometimes be interrupted by labor and medical privacy laws.
All medical information that comes out of the health assessment must be kept strictly confidential. And under HIPAA, the total amount of compensation for their participation in wellness programs may not exceed 20 percent of the total amount of coverage of employees of the plan. But the situation in health care reform will be at this number to 30 percent in 2014. America with Disabilities Act protects employees who are unable to lose weight or can not participate in company-sponsored programs because of a disability.
So what do you think employers working on losing weight for you, and you have to take more financial responsibility for their future in the expectation that you will leave soon anyway?