Company wellness programs are shifting from offering incentives to employees for simply signing up to rewarding -- or punishing -- staffers based on measurable results. What you need to know:
They're upping the ante. One in four companies with a wellness program now makes financial rewards contingent on hitting targets for blood pressure, body mass index, and similar readings, reports Aon Hewitt.
Qualifying may be tougher, but rewards are getting sweeter: Nearly one in five offer monetary incentives worth more than $500.
Trying counts. Many wellness programs reward improvement even if you fall short of the goals. Last year, for instance, employees in Cleveland Clinic's wellness program who didn't hit their targets saw a 9% hike in health premiums vs. 21% for employees who didn't enroll.
You can change the rules. If you feel that your employer's preset benchmarks aren't right for you, work with your physician to come up with appropriate measures for your health status. Then bring that to your benefits department. By law, your employer must work out a reasonable alternative or offer a waiver.
-- Walecia Konrad
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