Utilizing a Health Risk Assessment in Your Wellness Program

Written by benefitexpress | August 22, 2016

Besides an increase in employee engagement, the other main goal for wellness programs is to decrease employer healthcare spending. In order to achieve this, many employers require a Health Risk Assessment as a part of their wellness program.

On the employee side, assessments can be used by plan participants to identify health concerns and set wellness goals. For employers, risk assessments help identify how they can target future wellness efforts to contain costs.

How can you use assessments to your advantage?

Health Risk Assessments don’t have a set series of tests involved; instead, the exact assessment varies from company to company.

  • For some companies, a simple screening at the office is the most practical. This can include:
    • Blood pressure
    • Cholesterol
    • Body Mass Index
    • Blood Sugar
    • Bone Density
  • More in-depth tests include:
    • Physical Examinations
    • Blood Panels
    • Smoking-Related Testing

What are the Restrictions?

While this is a great opportunity, the administration of the assessments and what your company can do with the information is regulated. Like with all personal health information, the disclosure of anything you learn from assessments and storage of that information is protected by HIPAA. In addition, disclosure and use of any genetic information involved is strictly controlled by GINA.

Assessments can be a requirement of participating in a wellness program. The incentive to participate; however, must be within the EEOC limits for wellness programs (and avoiding a penalty counts as incentive). In addition, taking a Health Risk Assessment cannot be a requirement for participating in your company’s health benefits.

When properly executed, including a Health Risk Assessment in your company’s wellness program can be incredibly beneficial to employees and employer alike. Targeting the exact health problems affecting your workers will save on healthcare costs for everyone and drastically improve your wellness program ROI.

Topics: Health & Wellness, HIPAA, For Employers