Friday, June 16, 2017

Four Answers for Clients Looking to Launch a Budget-Friendly, Activity Tracking Program

Wearables are a fast-growing trend, with over 75 million devices expected to be in use in the workplace by 2020, according to a recent report released by Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO).

And they are popular for good reason. A physical activity tracking program with wearables is a great way to truly engage employees in healthy behavior, while also providing verifiable results back to the organization. (read more about the benefits of wearables here>)

But when clients want to add more physical activity tracking to their wellness program it can be tricky. Employers are often left asking, “How can we get the budget to include wearables?”

As their broker, you can demonstrate your value and expertise with these four answers:

1) Let’s look at reallocation of your current funds.

Our experience has brought us to countless conversations with employers that annually spend money on health risk assessments, biometric screenings, gym reimbursements and health coaching. While each offers its own benefit, none of them beat the accountability that can come through daily activity tracking.

Suggest redirecting these dollars towards an activity tracker credit, plus integrating these devices with a platform that provides an engaging experience and aggregate results. Then come back a year or so later and measure the change in Biometric results.

2) Let’s find discounted options that limit distribution hassle.

The Wellness Outlet is an on-line fitness tracking device store with no set up fee and no minimum purchase volumes. There are a wide variety of popular Fitbit and Garmin options available, starting at $25. It makes it easy to offer discounted devices to employees with no employer subsidy required.

However, if your employer wants to put dollars in, The Wellness Outlet has an easy feature to put company dollars towards an employee’s purchase. It also saves money by saving administrator’s hassle because devices are shipped directly to the employee’s home. In case you didn’t find the funds to support a company subsidy through re-allocation, there may be other ways.

3) Your current or future Insurance Carrier may be an ally.

Often, carriers have discretionary dollars banked to acquire new business. Get creative and negotiate these discretionary dollars to benefit your client’s wellness objectives, with a long-term plan that goes beyond this year’s premiums.

In certain markets, we continue to see carriers such as Anthem, UHC, Cigna and Aetna, provide employers with credits that can help wellness programs get a jumpstart. If you are bringing a program that not only puts fitness trackers in their hands, but displays persistent utilization through an annual platform, you’re more likely to gain support. Not only that, but you will be setting yourself apart as a thought leader, only furthering your leverage as a broker.

4) There is an option to tie premium contributions to wellness participation and engagement.

To do this, the employer simply needs to create two tiers of contributions, one tier for non-participants and one tier for those participating. The variance between the tiers, calculated to an annual amount, then becomes your carrot.

For example, let’s say an employer wants to contribute $300 more per year towards the cost of a single plan for those that engage in the wellness plan. That would mean in monthly terms, an employee could gain an additional $25 towards the cost of their insurance premiums.

To participate, employees would be asked to purchase an activity tracker. If an employee’s best means of obtaining these premium dollars is through activity tracking, then it becomes simple math for them. If they buy a device, they get more.

Of course, to make this easier to administer and more engaging for employees, an annual platform is necessary. The data from devices needs to be fed into a system that aggregates it and assigns point values. The point values then are attached to the separate tiers. Generally, the split of employees into tiers allows you to use your budget differently. In other words, you can then have more dollars funnel to the engaged, with less going to the disengaged.

Overall, activity tracking programs can truly have a positive impact on your clients’ health. And by considering some of these out of the box solutions you can help offer unique value to new and existing customers.

We have been integrating action based wellness solutions into benefit design for the past 10 years. If you would like to learn more about any of these budget neutral approaches feel free to reach out at or scheduling an appointment online with our team here.