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Tip of the week: Boost participation in disease management programs

Managed Care Weekly Advisor, August 22, 2007

Major U.S. employers are becoming more sophisticated in using incentives to encourage employee participation in health and disease management (DM) programs, and there are some ways to increase employee participation. A recent survey of employers conducted by The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and IncentOne, Inc. suggested the following :

  1. Offer more than just health management programs: Three-quarters of employers offer health management programs to their workers, and of those companies, two-thirds encourage their employees to participate with incentives.

  2. Use financial incentives: The most common incentive offered across health management programs is premium reductions, with 40% of companies using these as incentives. A strong second is cash or bonuses, offered by 29% of companies.

  3. Consider account contributions to maintain motivation: DM programs that offer incentives are more likely to use health account contributions, although premium reductions are the second most popular incentive. The most serious challenge reported for health management programs is maintaining employee motivation over time.

  4. Encourage communication and feedback: Maintaining employee motivation, seen as a serious challenge among those employers surveyed, suggests that there is a need to use a combination of incentive design strategies and unique but effective employee communication techniques.