According to the research brief entitled Workplace Wellness Programs: Services Offered, Participation and Incentives released May 2014 by Rand Corporation:
- 69 percent of employers with more than 50 employees offered wellness programs and 75 percent offered incentives
- About 33 percent of the smallest firms (50 to 100 employees) and about 80 percent of the larger ones (more than 1,000 employees) had a wellness program
- of those, about 60 percent of the smallest employers and 90 percent of other employers used incentives, mostly monetary, to promote program uptake.
- Employers that did not use incentives reported lower participation rates—a median of just 20 percent.
- Uptake appears to increase with the use of rewards, such as access to a higher-value health plan, with a median participation rate of 40 percent.
- Framing incentives as penalties, such as higher insurance contributions for smokers, was associated with an even higher median participation rate of 73 percent.
- Employers offering rewards of more than $100, a common threshold, report participation rates of 51 percent, compared with 36 percent for those with smaller rewards. The same observation holds true for penalties: Our analysis of one large employer’s actual participation data showed that a $600 penalty increased participation in a smoking cessation program, but only by 8.5 percentage points.