Why Corporate Wellness Programs Don't Work


If you are a small business owner and haven't heard of the recent RAND study results, it will make you shudder and SHOULD make you rethink your wellness program offering ASAP.

Essentially the study debunks the efficacy of wellness programs as they exist. The RAND report was mandated by the Affordable Care Act. 

Here's a key excerpt of how wellness programs will change under Obamacare:

"Starting next year, the healthcare reform law allows employers to reward employees who participate in workplace wellness programs with subsidies equal to 30 percent of the cost of insurance premiums, or about $1,620 annually per worker.

If wellness programs do not reduce healthcare spending, some employees could suffer financially. If an employer is subsidizing employees who use its program but is not reaping lower healthcare costs, it has three choices. It can absorb the costs, perhaps figuring it helps recruit or retain valued employees. It can raise healthcare premiums across the board. Or it can raise costs only to workers who do not participate, through higher deductibles or premiums, by at least that $1,620."

This report is a must read!  Like I mentioned in last weeks blog, it's time to rethink our healthcare options and that includes the options given for workplace wellness programs. 

Rethinking Wellness

Currently wellness programs embody BP and Cholesterol checks, fitness discounts, and maybe a nutritionist. Good for monitoring, but not for changing!

From my perspective, I think Naturopathic medical philosophy is THE answer to driving down costs. Major studies have repeatedly shown the cost savings of ND intervention to chronic diseases like DM2 (diabetes type 2) and CVD (heart disease)  MAJOR burdens on our healthcare system. 

As a doctor, I focus on making lifestyle changes for people, changes that are sustainable for themselves and families & use therapies that are cost effective and produce little to no side effects. The changes I make with patients are long term.

What I see in practice is early identification of patterns of disease and allaying symptoms BEFORE they present as a full blown disease crisis. This has repeatedly delayed if not prevented the use of surgery and numerous doctor visits by using a focused lifestyle and nutraceutical approach.

People often need a guide, a coach or motivator to take action on smoking cessation or weight loss. It's not an easy thing to accomplish without the help of a qualified advocate and a great set of tools.  

Now's the time to ask your employer, or if you are in a leadership role to enlist a Naturoapthic doctor onsite.  WELCOA gives 6 great reasons to support this strategy.
Just imagine if your company added naturopathic services into its wellness program...

  • Qualified, primary care provider onsite
  • Advocate for using natural therapies that work to reverse disease
  • Diverse medical care for a diverse population 
  • Ability to change health metrics that are effective long-term 
  • Awesome workplace benefit for employees
  • Low cost, positive ROI, and fully supported under Obamacare

Need I say more?  This is a win-win solution.

Find out more info on NHR's Wellness program or visit