Fidelity® and National Business Group on
Health Find Average Wellness Incentives to Increase to Almost $600 per
Employee, More than Double the Average Incentive in 2009
Corporate employers plan to spend an average of $594 per employee on
wellness-based incentives within their health care programs this year,
according to a new employer survey1 conducted by Fidelity
Investments® and the National Business Group on Health
(NBGH). This marks an increase of 15 percent from the average of $521
reported for 2013, and is more than double the average of $260 reported
five years ago. The largest increase was among companies with fewer than
5,000 employees, where the per employee average climbed to $595,
one-third higher than the average of $444 per employee in 2013.
The survey is the latest in a series Fidelity and the NBGH have
conducted since 2009 to analyze the growth of corporate health
improvement programs, which are designed to help employers manage their
corporate health care costs by creating a healthier workforce. The most
popular wellness programs continue to be focused on lifestyle
management, such as physical activity programs, weight management
programs and stress management. Other popular health improvement options
include disease/care management programs (e.g., managing chronic health
conditions, like diabetes), lifestyle-management services (e.g., weight
loss advice, gym membership discounts), health-risk management services
(e.g., on-site flu shots) and environmental enhancements (e.g., bike
racks, walking paths).
In addition to increasing the average amount spent per employee, the
survey found that most companies view wellness programs as an essential
part of their benefits program. The survey found that 95 percent of
companies plan to offer some kind of health improvement program for
their employees, and the percentage of companies offering incentives to
participate in these initiatives has increased from 57 percent in 2009
to 74 percent in 2014.
When asked about ongoing funding for wellness-based incentive programs,
93 percent of companies indicated they plan to expand or maintain
funding for their program over the next three to five years. And 44
percent of companies said they plan to maintain or increase their
investment in wellness programs, even if their company were to move away
from direct involvement in employer-sponsored health coverage, such as a
move to a private exchange model to provide health benefits for their
Companies expand incentives to include spouses, provide incentives
As the design of wellness programs continues to evolve, an increasing
number of companies are expanding wellness-based incentives to include
spouses and domestic partners. Nearly four out of ten (37 percent) of
companies surveyed indicated their program will include spouses and
domestic partners in 2014, and the average spouse/domestic partner
incentive is expected to reach $530 in 2014, more than $100 higher than
the average of $420 in 2010. When analyzing the data by company size,
the results showed that employers with more than 20,000 employees expect
to spend an average of $611 on spouses/domestic partners in 2014.
While many employers offer incentives through cash or a gift card, an
increasing number of employers offer incentives through an
employer-sponsored health savings account (HSA), flexible spending
account (FSA) or similar care-based savings vehicle. More than a third
(34 percent) of employers plan to contribute to an HSA or FSA for
engaging in a disease or care management program, while 33 percent plan
to offer a similar incentive for participation in a stress management
program. Three out of ten employers (30 percent) plan to offer
incentives through contributions to an HSA/FSA for enrollment in a
weight management program.
“While the use and measurement of corporate wellness programs continue
to evolve, it has become clear that many employers understand the value
of – and are committed to – wellness-based incentives in their company
health plan,” said Robert Kennedy, Health & Welfare Practice Leader with
Fidelity’s Benefits Consulting business. “Companies are constantly
looking for new and creative ways to expand their programs and motivate
their workforce, such as extending wellness incentives to spouses and
offering incentives through a contribution to a health savings account.
Increasingly, employers are viewing health improvement even more broadly
through the lens of well-being and productivity.”
“This is our fifth annual wellness survey with Fidelity, and it’s
encouraging to see how the use of wellness programs has evolved since
2009 and how employers continue to look for new ways to improve their
plans and encourage employee engagement,” said Helen Darling, president
and chief executive officer of NBGH. “Based on the feedback from this
year’s survey respondents, it’s obvious that wellness programs not only
play a key role in many corporate health care plans today, but they’ll
continue to be an integral part of corporate benefit programs in the
About the National Business Group on Health
The National Business Group on Health is the nation's only non-profit
organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers'
perspective on national health policy issues and providing practical
solutions to its members' most important health care problems. NBGH
helps drive today's health agenda while promoting ideas for controlling
health care costs, improving patient safety and quality of care, and
sharing best practices in health benefits management with senior
benefits, HR professionals, and medical directors from leading
corporations. For more information, visit www.businessgrouphealth.org.
About Fidelity’s Benefits Consulting
Fidelity’s Benefits Consulting business helps mid- to large-size
employers nationwide assess the effectiveness of their benefits
programs. The business provides a comprehensive approach to benefits
design, strategy, funding, communications and delivery by looking at
clients’ health care and retirement plans before diagnosing business
solutions. The group’s specialties include retirement and health care
plan consulting, custom data administration, compliance and employee
communication. Benefits Consulting has offices in Boston, New York City,
San Francisco, Chicago, Raleigh and Dallas.
About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity Investments is one of the world’s largest providers of
financial services, with assets under administration of $4.6 trillion,
including managed assets of $1.9 trillion, as of December 31, 2013.
Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment
management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits
outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than
20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000
financial intermediary firms. For more information about Fidelity
Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.
Fidelity, Fidelity Investments and Fidelity Investments and the Pyramid
Design logo are registered service marks of FMR LLC. The National
Business Group on Health is an independent entity and is not affiliated
with Fidelity Investments.
© 2014 FMR LLC. All rights reserved.
1 Data for the survey were collected online in November and
December of 2013 by the National Business Group on Health in conjunction
with Fidelity and are based on responses from a national sample of 151
companies from numerous industries including transportation, health
care, technology, entertainment, consumer products, retail and energy.
The sizes of the companies spanned a broad range, from fewer than 2,000
to more than 50,000 employees. The results of this survey may not be
representative of all companies meeting the same criteria as those
surveyed for this study.
Mike Shamrell, 617-563-1996
Corporate Communications, 617-563-5800
Source: Fidelity Investments