Humana’s wellness program for employees pays off

Employees at Humana were more likely to make better health choices and have a reduced risk for chronic disease by taking part in the company’s wellness program. In addition, those in the program had lower healthcare costs.

Humana unveiled the findings of a study on the impact of its Go365 program for more than 10,000 participants over a five-year period. The program offers rewards to participants for good health behaviors has more than five million members nationwide, though the study was confined to Humana employees. Participants are rewarded for actions such as preventive screenings and fitness activities.

Humana has partnered with several digital health companies, including Fitbit, to connect users directly with their health plan and to monitor rewards.

Overall, the participants in the study increased their consumption of healthier foods and exercise, while also reducing stress and tobacco use. Members who exercised for at least 150 minutes weekly increased 25% over the five-year period, while those who ate five or more servings and fruits and vegetables daily rose about 12%.

This group was 2.3% less likely to be a smoker and those experiencing low stress increased 5%.

In addition, participants lowered other clinical risk factors, including lowering their risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease over five years. Humana called this trend “promising for the aging workforce.” Specifically, 7% more men had healthy ranges of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good, cholesterol, as did 3% more women. Overall, members were also more likely to have healthier ranges of blood glucose, blood pressure and triglycerides.

When it came to healthcare costs, members who were considered high-engaged in year five paid $116 per month on average less in healthcare compared to low-engaged members. This group also had 35% fewer emergency room visits and 30% fewer hospital admissions.

“Based on the strength of the findings of the Go365 study in showing that long-term employee participation in our wellness program results in a healthier, more productive work force and reduced healthcare costs, Go365 is a proven partner in realizing these positive outcomes,” Jeff Reid, senior vice president of Wellness Solutions for Humana, said in a statement.

See the full study here.