8 health and wellness programs for a thriving workforce

8 health and wellness programs for a thriving workforce

Source : https://www.benefitnews.com/list/8-health-and-wellness-programs-for-a-thriving-workforce In a year when people were asked to avoid going out in public, employers and benefit providers had to get creative to ensure the workforce stayed healthy during the pandemic.
Telemedicine certainly grabbed the spotlight; doctor appointments conducted over video chat doubled during the first few months of the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But there’s more to health than primary care visits; in addition to addressing behaviors contributing to an unhealthy lifestyle, employers also went out of their way to make healthcare affordable for their workforce.
As companies look toward 2021, these eight programs and tactics can help inspire HR professionals to explore new offerings that can help employees live longer, healthier lives.
 Telehealth benefit takes aim at rising healthcare costs
As businesses and employers nationwide lay off workers and cut costs amid the coronavirus pandemic, national telehealth provider MeMD is offering short-term access to virtual medical and behavioral healthcare. Virtual urgent care visits via phone or video are completed in about 30 minutes, while members seeking behavioral health services can connect with a provider in as few as 48 hours, says Bill Goodwin, CEO of MeMD. It also allows employers to provide telehealthcare for their entire employee population — from contractors to full-time employees — including those who do not qualify for traditional medical plans. “A lot of companies want to help their people through [this situation],” he says. ”We want to give an alternative that is short term and that could make an impact, since some employers can’t commit to something six or 12 months from now because of the change in the economy. It allows companies to provide that benefit in a low-cost way so that they can apply that right away.” Aquent to cover employee healthcare premiums for the holidays
Aquent, a workforce staffing firm for marketing and creative talent, gave employees a break from having to pay healthcare premiums for the holidays. For two consecutive pay cycles, Aquent’s U.S. employees will see some extra money in their paychecks, as the company assumes responsibility for their healthcare premiums. The gift comes during a time when a few extra dollars can go a long way. “We’re giving our talent a health premium holiday for two weeks,” says John Chuang, CEO of Aquent. “This has been a really tough year with the pandemic and with the economy. So we wanted to help [our employees] out.” Meal program provides healthy lunches to remote workers
Disruptions from the coronavirus have infiltrated the daily lives of employees, causing challenges to both our mental and physical well-being. Focusing on proper nutrition is on the back burner for many.
Twenty-seven percent of people reported snacking more during coronavirus, and 15% said they are eating more often than usual, according to a study by the International Food Information Council. Forty-two percent have been relying more on pre-packaged foods than in the previous month, despite believing they are a less healthy option. “The quality of fuel we put in our body ultimately controls the output,” says Michael Wystrach, CEO of Freshly, a meal subscription service. “So how well our brain functions, how our emotions and hormones are released, how productive we are, it really does start with diet.” Nashville school district leader overhauls maternity benefit pricing
David Hines doesn’t believe having a baby should be expensive — so he restructured his benefit plan to ensure parents would pay zero out-of-pocket costs for doctor appointments to start a family. As the executive director of benefits at Metro Nashville Public Schools, Hines has a reputation for thinking outside the box when it comes to benefit packages. Thanks to his efforts, his school district is able to provide primary care, physical therapy, chiropractic care and more at five onsite clinics. But his latest accomplishment overhauls how employers pay for maternity care. “I felt like I was getting beat up over our neonatal costs,” says Hines, the 2020 Healthcare Benny Award winner. “And for whatever reason, we would still have eight babies come prematurely, or have other complications that led to the baby being sick. I wanted something that provided quality, value-based care.” Transgender health company Plume jumps into employee benefits space
Plume, a health tech company for the transgender community, is entering the employee benefits space with a voluntary health packages for companies catering to those underserved employees. Employers who offer the Plume benefit will be providing their transgender employees with access to safe and affordable gender affirming hormone replacement therapy through resources administered through a mobile app. There are 1.4 million transgender people in the U.S., according to research from Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA school of law, a rise from 700,000 people in 2011. Experts say the transgender community is still largly underserved by healthcare benefits, because the benefits are not structured to be inclusive. Many of the life saving treatments transgender people need are considered cosmetic or elective and therefore not covered by insurance. CVS adds weight management to its PBM lineup
CVS Health is bolstering offerings to its PBM lineup, including a new weight management benefit to help employees drop the so-called “COVID 15.”
Naturally Slim, a Dallas-based digital weight management platform, is now part of Point Solutions Management, part of CVS Caremark’s roster of wellness benefits. Last week, CVS added the anxiety management app Daylight, to the same lineup. Medical leaders at CVS say the PBM’s recent additions are part of the company’s efforts to include benefits designed to help employees tackle challenges posed by the pandemic, including weight gain. “The tactics of helping us understand our relationship with food were important pre-pandemic, but they’re definitely more important now,” says Dr. Sree Chaguturu, chief medical officer at CVS Caremark, the PBM of CVS Health. “The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we live out our day. We’re not outside as much, and we’re always at home where we’re close to food 24/7.” ClassPass adapts fitness offerings for a remote world
Employers have been challenged with adapting their benefits to support a remote workforce, especially when it comes to boosting employee health, wellbeing, and morale. But while many employees are struggling to stay active and physically well amid the pandemic, employers can adapt their physical wellness benefits for a virtual world. For Sana Benefits, a health benefits provider, this meant evolving a benefit they were already offering employees through ClassPass, a subscription-based provider of fitness classes they’ve been utilizing since 2018. “We’ve been partnering with ClassPass recently to offer events for HR professionals who have been through a rough time during the pandemic,” says Tanner Bond, head of marketing at Sana Benefits. “ClassPass has been great about sourcing meditation, yoga and even nutrition sessions.” Unum debuts updated hospital insurance benefit
Unum, a finance and insurance products provider, has updated its hospital insurance offerings with new features that include coverage for mental-health treatment, routine check-ups for infants and more care options at different price points and coverage levels. “Health insurance is the most highly valued and commonly offered employee insurance benefit. [But] even the best health insurance won’t cover all your out-of-pocket costs,” says Katy Whittle, product manager at Unum. That’s where hospital insurance can help fill the gaps. “Hospital insurance is supplemental health coverage that provides a lump sum benefit during a qualifying hospital stay, and on some plans, outpatient surgery and diagnostic procedures,” Whittle says.