Wellness Runs in Manufacturing Industry

Kramer Aspiri | Vice President, Employee Benefits Account Executive

Rising Costs of Healthcare

Each segment of the manufacturing industry has a major issue forefront in their budget process: the rising costs of healthcare. These increasing healthcare costs are the number one concern right in front of unfavorable business conditions, according to the most recent survey from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Below is some data from the latest NAM Outlook Survey; the concern is justified, and the issues appear to be escalating each year:

  • Respondents anticipate premiums to increase by 7.9 percent on average over the next 12 months, with nearly one-third reporting gains of at least 10 percent.
  • If health insurance premiums continue to increase at the rate of the past 15 years, manufacturers’ premiums could potentially rise to $17,845 per family under their plan, an increase of more than $1,300 per policy in a single year.
  • The employee benefits tax (i.e. Cadillac tax) will go into effect in 2018, imposing a 40 percent surcharge on benefits exceeding $10,200 for an individual and $27,500 for a family.
  • If costs continue to increase at the historically average rate, the standard plan for a manufacturing sector employee would fall under the Cadillac tax by 2024. If the tax is left in place, then it will affect nearly every manufacturing employee benefits package within the next decade.

Wellness Programs Decrease Healthcare Costs

Wellness programs have become the number one driver to help curb the rising costs of healthcare and help manufacturers attract talent. These programs concentrate on improving the well being & health of working populations. Many programs offer exercise, stretching goals, dietary plans, & social/gaming aspects. Wellness programs not only create a healthy lifestyle, but also provide a healthy working environment, which can help retention and employment recruitment. This role of creating a healthy working environment falls on leadership; employees recognize and appreciate the value, which in turn makes healthier and happier employees.

A recent case study done by myinertia showed that, after working with a manufacturing company for three years, they see better results from manufacturers with wellness programs. By implementing healthier food onsite, providing stretching rotations, setting aside time for walks, etc., they reduced their high-risk population (individuals with health concerns or older demographics) from 30 percent to 14 percent. Wellness is the new popular strategy in the blue-collar work environment and is effectively decreasing claims and retaining talent. Wellness programs have grown astronomically over the recent years; companies are now spending $6 billion a year on wellness programs according to a study by the RAND Corporation.

While the manufacturing industry is facing some serious challenges in the coming years, there are wellness opportunities that will help you regain control of your total healthcare spend. When applied mindfully in an appropriate culture, these wellness strategies can mitigate the future increases and help attract talent. To get started exploring which options are available to your organization, Parker, Smith & Feek would welcome the opportunity to assist. Please reach out to your Parker, Smith & Feek account team for more information!

Sources:

http://www.nam.org/Data-and-Reports/Manufacturers-Outlook-Survey/2016-Manufacturers–Outlook-Survey—Third-Quarter/

http://www.nam.org/Data-and-Reports/Reports/Shaping-Up/Shaping-Up-Executive-Summary.pdf

http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/181481/company-wellness-programsbust.aspx

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