Recent commentary in Health Affairs questions the return on investment of workplace wellness programs closely tied to routine screenings. The contributors argue that routine heart disease screening, for example, is not a cost effective approach to identifying risk factors and avoiding heart attacks among employees and that health risks need to be reduced. The contributors conclude that other types of wellness interventions may be more effective and less costly.

What the ACA terms “participatory wellness strategies” — subsidized healthy choices in the cafeteria, gym memberships or on-site fitness, flexible scheduling to facilitate physical activity, automated health kiosks, nutrition education, and free smoking cessation programs — would cost much less than what is being spent now on biometrics and incentives.

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Updated 5-9-13

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