Employers serve as the primary purchasers of health insurance for employees and their families in the U.S. today. By offering comprehensive benefits and programs, including those related to wellness and preventive care, they have the opportunity to improve the health and well-being of their workforce. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), employers can benefit from workplace health programs and services through the positive impact healthy workers can have on productivity, absenteeism and job satisfaction. In addition, there are economic benefits for employers, like spending less on direct medical costs including workers compensation, disability and replacement for ill or injured employees. 1 However this is only true if employees actually use their benefits, especially preventive health benefits. Unfortunately, many employers experience low utilization of such services.
In 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA). One provision of the ACA provides insured Americans free access to preventive care by mandating that health plans provide a set of services with no out-of-pocket costs, placing the focus on wellness, prevention and early detection. Despite improved access to preventive services, research conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that consumer awareness and utilization remains low and cost is a perceived barrier to use. 2