Pub­lished today in The North Bay Busi­ness Jour­nal, Arrow Ben­e­fits Group Part­ner Kei­th McNeil is quot­ed in an arti­cle about the ris­ing trend of work­place well­ness programs.


Pro­vid­ing well­ness pro­grams for employ­ees is also a way for larg­er com­pa­nies to low­er their insur­ance rates.

“Once you get over 50 employ­ees, the insur­ance com­pa­ny will look at the claims and low­er the rate,” said Andrew McNeil, prin­ci­pal with Arrow Ben­e­fits Group in Petaluma. “It takes between three and five years of offer­ing the pro­grams to see any return on invest­ment, how­ev­er, and that can be an eter­ni­ty for small employers.”

The major­i­ty of larg­er com­pa­nies Arrow works with have well­ness pro­grams in place, McNeil said. Many small busi­ness­es (under 50 employ­ees) don’t imple­ment well­ness pro­grams as the pro­gram itself can­not direct­ly affect the month­ly health insur­ance pre­mi­um. That’s because the pre­mi­ums are a pooled risk, and filed by the health plans with the State of Cal­i­for­nia. (The under 50 employ­ees def­i­n­i­tion changes to under 100 employ­ees in 2016.)

Still, while small employ­ers that offer a well­ness pro­gram can’t impact the cost of their group health insur­ance, a well-designed well­ness pro­gram has the poten­tial for reduc­ing absen­teeism as well as increas­ing employ­ee morale. Larg­er employ­ers that offer a well­ness pro­gram may see over time a reduc­tion in their med­ical rates (assum­ing the well­ness pro­gram is imple­ment­ed cor­rect­ly) as the med­ical rates are tied to the over­all health risk of the employ­ees and their cov­ered depen­dents, espe­cial­ly if the well­ness pro­gram is tar­get­ed to spe­cif­ic med­ical prob­lems such as obesity.