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Employee Wellness Dollars and How to Spend Them

Employee wellness is more than a fad. People who feel their employers care about their health, and well-being are more likely to stay at their current jobs. Which is a huge advantage for employers, especially during such a volatile time in employee turnover. 

Recruiting and retaining talented people takes a concerted effort from companies. There’s no magic bullet that keeps employees happy and engaged in work, but investing in your employee’s wellness can be beneficial to them, to your company, and even to your bottom line. 

Many employers don’t know that their insurance providers may offer wellness dollars. Wellness dollars are a spending account of a percentage of their premiums for companies to intentionally invest back into employee wellness programs. 

What are wellness dollars? 

Many insurance providers offer reimbursement of wellness dollars for health and wellness programs. These are often a percentage of your premium meant to specifically offer such programs to your employees. Whether that’s a gym membership, yoga classes, mental health resources, or other wellness opportunities, these wellness dollars are intentionally meant for you to invest in the health and well-being of your workforce. 

But these benefits are typically only used after contacting your insurance provider. They don’t automatically keep them for you, so you’ll have to contact them to find out what percentage can be used for wellness dollars and what specific activities they can be used for. If your provider doesn’t offer them, consider negotiating this into your contract.

Why are wellness dollars available? 

Insurance companies are like any other corporation, they are competing for your business. If you have a sizable staff, that translates to sizeable premiums. Offering wellness dollars to employers gives insurance companies an advantage to sell when employers approach them. 

Outside of the monetary reason for their existence, wellness dollars exist for your employees’ wellbeing. It’s that simple. 

What activities can wellness dollars be used for? 

Each insurance provider is different and may consider different programs eligible for their wellness dollar spending. Because of this, contacting your provider is the best way to find out exactly what programs you can offer your employees. 

Here are a few ideas to consider when talking with your insurance provider. 

  • Gym memberships. Consider local gyms in your area, 
  • Services like ClassPass that allow remote workers to access local health and wellness businesses.
  • Chronic disease management programs. This can help employees who have chronic health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and other common chronic conditions. 
  • Mental health resources and technology. 
  • Nutrition resources and health coaching. 

Advantages of offering wellness dollars to your employees

Thoughtful workplace wellness programs can set you apart from competitors. When done right wellness programs consider your employees’ needs as well as how you spend money. They can help employee morale and performance and they can invest money you’ve already spent wisely. 

Wellness dollars can…

  • Improve employee engagement and morale 
  • Health cut back on healthcare costs both for you and your staff 
  • Improve employee recruitment and retention 
  • Increase productivity 
  • Help your employees focus on their own wellbeing without worrying about costs.