A study by StayWell Health Management and Towers Watson found that employers whose employees practice health risk prevention can see a drop in health care costs within one year. The study also found that investment in wellness can be paid off by its second year and can have a 3-to-1 ROI by its third year.

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Nata Mendlovic, MT(ASCP), MBA: Health risk prevention is no longer an experimental study. There is numerous data to substantiate a positive risk migration due to a well thought out and well implemented wellness program! In most instances, the HR department and corporate leadership is provided with data and reports, including an ROI calculation. The methodology is very important and any reputable wellness provider can back it up. I am not sure if a newly implemented wellness program can show a positive ROI in its first year, but, most definitely, by year three and beyond the results are very positive.

Vikram Khanna: Risk migration occurs with or without wellness programming. The question, unanswered by wellness advocates, is whether a wellness program can reasonably provoke favorable risk migration that might otherwise not occur and measure negative risk migration that happens even with a wellness program in place (this must be counted as an offset to the favorable risk migration when calculating cost-benefit). Most wellness programs do not measure their results against actual claims incurred or a valid control group.

 I submit that wellness, as practiced today by most vendors, is an elaborate charade designed to make wellness vendors look good but not actually change meaningful population health dynamics. Ms. Mendlovic is, quite simply, wrong in her assertion that reputable wellness vendors can back up their ROI claims. I would happily reverse that judgment if she were to supply papers/studies/evidence.

Floria Aghdamimehr: Vikram, although no methodology cited, HR can and should monitor costs. At this point this is not being done and most employers don't have an accurate measure for these:
How much $$$ employee sickness is costing them in absenteeism?
How much $$$ is this costing in insurance costs?
How much presenteeism $$$ costs them?

We certainly need more concrete data and evidence!!