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The Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM Summary of Wellness Results 4th Quarter 2006

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Wellness Benefits Currently Being Offered by Firms

Employees of firms with 10-1000 employees are offered a variety of benefits through the workplace. Some employers have implemented wellness benefits as a method for boosting employee health and to help curb the ever-rising healthcare expenses. To identify what types of wellness benefits are available, employees were given a list of possible wellness benefits and asked to identify which ones they were offered. Table 1 below, shows that the top three wellness benefits offered are: Educational tools or resources (18%), Fitness Center Discounts (15%), and Educational Wellness Seminars (13%). As could be expected, wellness benefits are more likely to be offered at larger firms (501-1000 employees).

Table 1 - Wellness Benefits

"Which of the following wellness benefits does your employer currently offer?"

Base: 1197 employed U.S. adults in firms of 10-1,000 employees

Wellness Benefits Overall 2006 Overall 2005 Overall 2004 2006 Employer Firm Size
10 to 500 Employees 501 to 1,000 Employees
Educational Tools or Resources 18% 16% 19% 15%* 36%
Fitness Center Discounts 15%SIG 12% 14% 13%* 24%
Educational Wellness Seminars 13% 11% 14% 12%* 23%
Fitness Facilities 12% 11% 11% 10%* 23%
Blood Pressure Checks 11% 9% 12% 9%* 22%
On-Site Health Screenings 11%SIG 8% 9% 8%* 24%
Cholesterol Screening 10%SIG 7% 8% 8% 18%
Smoking Cessation Programs 9% 10% 6% 7%* 20%
Weight Management Programs 9% 8% 5% 8%* 19%
Access to Experts (Nutritionists, etc) 7% 7% 8% 6% 11%
Intervention Programs 7%SIG 5% 7% 6% 12%
Blood Sugar Screening 6% 6% 6% 5%* 13%
Weight Mgmt Program Discounts 6% 5% 4% 5%* 13%
Consultant Review of Health Screen 6%SIG 4% 4% 5%* 11%
Maternity Management 4% 5% 6% 4%* 10%
Personalized Action Plan for High Risk Conditions 4% 3% 4% 3% 7%
Online Health Screenings 4% 3% 2% 3% 7%
Fitness Equipment Discounts 2% 3% 2% 2% 1%
Other 4% 3% 3% 4% 4%
  N=1197 N=1,213 N=1,736 N=1010 N=187

SIG= Significant at the 95% confidence level
* - varies significantly (95% level) from 10-500 employees and 501-1000 employees comparison

Usage of Wellness Benefits by Employees

Although employers can offer a variety of wellness benefits; it is up to the employees to take advantage of these benefits. Based upon which wellness benefits are offered to them, employees were asked to identify how frequently they used each of them. Shown in Table 2 below is a breakdown of how frequently they are used.

Table 2 - Usage of Wellness Benefits

"How often do you use each of the following wellness benefits offered by your employer?"

Base: employed U.S. adults with at least 1 Wellness Program offered

Wellness Benefits # of Employees with access to benefit Have Used 2006 Have Used 2005 Have Used 2004 2006 Use Frequency
Weekly Monthly Yearly
Education Tools/Resources 234 86% 82% 84% 17% 51% 18%
Online Health Screenings 40 86% 72% 66% 8% 12% 66%
Consultant Review of Health Screen 57 80% 72% 70% 23% 57%
On-Site Health Screenings 133 79% 68% 79% 12% 67%
Blood Pressure Checks 132 70%SIG 81% 71% 6% 19% 45%
Cholesterol Screening 106 70% 73% 70% 8% 62%
Personalized Action Plan for High Risk Conditions 33 65% 45% 49% 14% 10% 40%
Education Wellness Seminars 153 63% 68% 69% 6% 27% 31%
Blood Sugar Screening 75 60% 70% 65% 9% 51%
Fitness Facilities 161 60%SIG 38% 54% 46% 7% 8%
Access to Experts 86 48% 42% 60% 8% 7% 34%
Fitness Center Discounts 178 39% 32% 38% 13% 15% 11%
Weight Mgmt Programs 84 37% 33% 35% 7% 13% 16%
Intervention Programs 72 25% 37% 40% 2% 8% 15%
Fitness Equipment Discounts 23 24% 40% 64% 6% 18%
Maternity Management 46 24% 15% 12% 6% 18%
Weight Mgmt Program Discounts 69 22% 36% 17% 5% 1% 15%
Smoking Cessation Programs 128 11% 16% 10% 1% 2% 8%

SIG= Significant at the 95% confidence level

Wellness Benefits Desired And Not Currently Offered

To understand what wellness benefits employees desire, employees were given a list of benefits not currently offered by their firms and asked to pick the top 3 they would like to see offered. Table 3 shows those benefits listed in order of most frequently mentioned - Fitness Facilities received the highest percentage of mentions (30%). One fourth (24%) responded they would prefer to see their employer offer "none of these".

Table 3 - Wellness Benefits Desired

"Below are the wellness benefits you indicated your employer does not offer. Which of the following are the top three benefits that you would like to see your employer offer?"

Base: 1197 employed U.S. adults in firms of 10-1,000 employees

Wellness Benefits Top Wellness Benefits Desired 2006 Top Wellness Benefits Desired 2005 Top Wellness Benefits Desired 2004
Fitness Facilities 30% 27% 31%
Fitness Center Discounts 26% 23% 33%
Weight Management Programs 18% 17% 19%
Access to Experts (Nutritionists, etc.) 17%SIG 12% 18%
On-Site Health Screenings 15% 15% 16%
Fitness Equipment Discounts 12% 10% 15%
Weight Management Program Discounts 12%SIG 9% 13%
Educational Wellness Seminars 9% 9% 9%
Smoking Cessation Programs 9% 7% 9%
Cholesterol Screening 8%SIG 13% 11%
Blood Pressure Checks 8%SIG 13% 7%
Personalized Action Plan for High Risk Conditions 6% 7% 7%
Educational Tools or Resources 6% 5% 8%
Consultant Review of Health Screening 6% 5% 7%
Blood Sugar Screening 5% 6% 5%
Maternity Management 4% 5% 5%
Intervention Programs 3% 4% 6%
Online Health Screenings 3% 4% 2%
None of these 24% 26% 19%
  N=1196 N=1,213 N=1,736

SIG= Significant at the 95% confidence level

Perceived Success of Wellness Programs at Reducing Health Care Costs

Employees of firms of 10-1000 employees were asked to evaluate how successful they feel wellness benefits are in reducing healthcare costs. Sixty-one percent believe wellness benefits are very/somewhat successful in reducing healthcare costs. Table 4 provides a breakdown of results.

Table 4 - Wellness Program Success

"How successful do you believe wellness benefits offered by your employer can be in reducing healthcare costs?"

Base: 1197 employed U.S. adults in firms of 10-1,000 employees

  Very Successful Somewhat Successful Neither Somewhat Unsuccessful Very Unsuccessful
2006 19%SIG 42% 23%SIG 10% 6%
2005 15% 42% 27% 9% 7%
2004 14% 43% 24% 9% 11%

SIG= Significant at the 95% confidence level

Ranking of Who Benefits the Most From Reduced Health Care Costs

As noted above 61% believe that wellness benefits are successful for reducing healthcare costs. As a follow-up question, they were asked to identify who they feel benefits the most financially from reduced healthcare costs. Table 5 shows what percentage of employees ranked each of the items as number one - average rankings were also included in the table.

Table 5 - Benefits From Wellness Benefits

"In your opinion, who benefits most financially from the reduced healthcare costs associated with wellness benefit programs? Please rank list in order with "1" receiving the highest financial benefit and "6" receiving the lowest financial benefit."

Base: 1197 employed U.S. adults in firms of 10-1,000 employees

  % Ranked #1 2006 % Ranked #1 2005 % Ranked #1 2004 Average Ranking 2006
My Family and Me 58% 55% 48% 2.1
My Insurance Provider 17%SIG 14% 18% 2.9
My Employer 16% 18% 19% 2.5
Society 5% 5% 9% 4.1
Government 2%SIG 4% 3% 5.0
Health Care Providers 1%SIG 4% 3% 4.4

SIG= Significant at the 95% confidence level

Items That Would Encourage Employees to Participate in a Wellness Program

Employees were asked to identify 3 benefits that would encourage them to participate in a wellness program - Table 6 shows the full results. Table 7 shows a breakdown of results by age groups.

Table 6 - Encourage to Participate

"Of the items listed below, which three would encourage you to participate in a wellness benefit program?"

Base: 1197 employed U.S. adults in firms of 10-1,000 employees

  4 Q 2006 4 Q 2005 4 Q 2004
Better overall physical health 56% 55% 57%
Greater chance of living a longer, healthier life 41% 40% 40%
Reduced personal health care costs 38%SIG 42% 46%
Receive an incentive or reward to participate 35% 33% 31%
Employer provides opportunity to participate 30% 31% 30%
More positive mental outlook 18% 18% 18%
Recommendation by doctor or health care provider 17% 16% 20%
Reduce impact of current condition or illness 15% 16% 18%
Encouragement from friends or family 11%SIG 8% 9%
Encouragement from employer 6% 5% 6%
Advertisements <1% <1% 4%
None of these 5%SIG 7% 4%

SIG= Significant at the 95% confidence level

When respondents are reviewed by age group, there are some differences in what would encourage them to participate in a wellness program.

  • The respondents under age 45 are significantly more likely than the 55 and older age group to be encouraged to participate in wellness benefit programs if they receive an incentive or reward to participate.
  • The respondents age 45 and over are significantly more likely than the 18-34 year old group to be encouraged to participate if it provides reduced personal healthcare costs.

Table 7 - Encourage to Participate by Age Group

"Of the items listed below, which three would encourage you to participate in a wellness benefit program?"

Base: 1197 employed U.S. adults in firms of 10-1,000 employees

  2006 Age Groups
18-34 35-44 45-54 55+
Better overall physical health 47% 61% 62% 56%
Greater chance of living a longer, healthier life 39% 37% 41% 48%
Reduced personal health care costs 30% 35% 44%* 49%*
Receive an incentive or reward to participate 42%* 38%* 31% 22%
Employer provides opportunity to participate 30% 36% 28% 23%
More positive mental outlook 16% 26% 18% 12%
Recommendation by doctor or health care provider 19% 15% 13% 21%
Reduce impact of current condition or illness 12% 14% 16% 20%
Encouragement from friends or family 12% 9% 10% 12%
Encouragement from employer 6% 7% 4% 8%
Advertisements 1% 1%
None of these 7% 3% 7% 5%
  N=274 N=317 N=332 N=274

* – varies significantly (95%) from at least one age group

Effect of Wellness Program on Employee Motivation and Retention

In determining how important employees perceive the wellness benefits overall, they were asked to identify how much they agreed with a few statements related to encouraging them to work harder/perform better, and encouraging them to stay in their current employment situation. Overall, 51% agree or somewhat agree wellness benefits encourage them to work harder and perform better, and 55% said it would encourage them to stay in their current employment situation.

Table 8 - Employee Motivation

"Please tell us how much you agree or disagree with the following statement. Having a wellness program offered by my employer would / does encourage me to work harder and perform better."

Base: 1197 employed U.S. adults in firms of 10-1,000 employees

  Strongly Agree Somewhat Agree Neither Somewhat Disagree Strongly Disagree
2006 13% 39%SIG 35% 8% 6%
2005 12% 35% 38% 9% 6%
2004 13% 37% 35% 8% 6%

Table 9 - Employee Retention

"Please tell us how much you agree or disagree with the following statement. Having a wellness program offered by my employer would/does encourage me to stay in my current employment situation."

Base: 1197 employed U.S. adults in firms of 10-1,000 employees

  Strongly Agree Somewhat Agree Neither Somewhat Disagree Strongly Disagree
2006 14% 40%SIG 30%SIG 8% 7%
2005 13% 35% 37% 9% 6%
2004 15% 39% 33% 7% 6%

SIG= Significant at the 95% confidence level

Health Plan Options

Employees in firms of 10-1000 were asked to indicate how many health plan options they have available at their place of employment. 46% have more than one option available. There were few statistically significant differences based upon the size of the firm. Table 10 shows the details.

Table 10 - Number of Health Plans Offered

"How many health plan options do you have available at your place of employment?"

Base: 1197 employed U.S. adults in firms of 10-1,000 employees

Health Plan Options Overall 2006 Overall 2005 Employer Firm Size
10 to 500 Employees 501 to 1,000 Employees
None 8% 10% 8% 5%
1 option 38% 36% 39% 30%
2 option 27%SIG 22% 26% 35%
3 option 13% 13% 11% 21%
4 or more options 6% 7% 6% 6%
Not sure 9%SIG 12% 10% 4%
  N=1197 N=1,213 N=1010 N=187

* – varies significantly (95% level) from 10-500 employees and 501-1000 employees comparison

Ranking of What Motivates Your Decision on Which Plan to Choose

As noted above 46% of employees in firms with 10-1000 have more than one health plan option to choose from. As a follow-up question, they were asked to identify what motivates them to choose a particular plan option. Table 11 shows what percentage of employees ranked each of the items as number one. The care network (doctors and facilities available in the plan) was ranked first by the largest percentage of employees (31%).

Table 11 - Motivators for Choosing a Health Plan Option

"What motivates your decision on which plan to choose? Please rank your top 3 responses with "1" being the most motivational."

Base: N=546 employed U.S. adults who have more than option to choose from

  % Ranked #1 2006
Care network (doctors and facilities available within the plan) 31%
Monthly paycheck deduction 24%
Physician office visit co-pay 11%
Deductible/s 10%
Benefit limitations and/or exclusions 9%
Estimated health care need for coming year 7%
Emergency visit co-pay 2%
What my colleagues are choosing
None of these-do not have insurance through my employer 5%
None of these, I just "pick one" 1%

"–" indicates no responses

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