Today, I have a guest post for you from Brandy over at Busted Budget. Please check out her blog after you’ve finished reading her helpful article about making the most of your employer’s benefits program. If you’re interested in showcasing your work and would like to guest post, please get in touch!
The desire to be healthy and live a balanced life is not a new idea. We, as people, strive to better ourselves physically as we know it will provide benefits in others area of life. It’s no secret that a person in good physical shape will often have more energy, an increased ability to concentrate, and sleep better than those with a more sedentary lifestyle.
While striving for health and wellness, we find ourselves making New Year’s resolutions, joining the local gym, and taking part in the latest diet craze. But, what if we aren’t looking in the right places for help to achieve these goals? Many times, employers will offer benefits to employees that will aide in bettering physical health and wellness. Unfortunately, many people either aren’t aware or don’t participate in these programs.
So, why do employers offer benefits that support better health? For the some of the same reasons we want to be in better health – their employees will likely have more energy and better concentration as a result, which can lead to improved work performance. The programs offered can differ on a vast level. Some may offer discounts. Others may offer money. While I cannot describe each and every wellness incentive out there, I can provide first hand details on those offered by my husband’s employer and mine.
My employer offers a discount to their on- and off-site fitness centers. The facilities have cardio and strength training equipment, group fitness classes, and free fitness consultations. Most are open 24 hours, which is convenient since we are a 24-hour organization. The group fitness classes offered include yoga, pilates, tabata, zumba, and a variety of aerobics classes. I can also work with a personal trainer at a discounted rate. Yes, it would great if these services were free, but I realize a discount is nothing to scoff at – especially when the cost of a gym membership now can run hundreds of dollars.
Aside from the internal resources offered to employees such as a personal health coach, a weight management program, and dietician consultations, my employer also partners with Weight Watchers. Through this partnership, I am able to join this popular (and successful) diet program at a 50% discount. I am a big fan of Weight Watchers and recently lost 25 pounds following the program. And I literally pay less than $9 a month for the online services. Personally, this is one of my favorite wellness benefits.
Health Care Premium Discounts
If I meet certain requirements, my employer gives me a discount on my health insurance premiums. First, I have to do a wellness consultation. This basically entails speaking to a person about my current well-being and my future goals. Next, I must complete a barometric screening where they capture my weight, cholesterol, glucose level, blood pressure, abdominal circumference, and BMI. Finally, to receive the discount, I am required to have an annual check-up with my primary care physician. These are all things I should be doing anyway and the best part is what I pay to have them done. Nothing! On top of that, I save almost $400 on my health insurance every year.
My husband’s employer is pretty awesome in that they offer gift cards when their employees complete a variety of wellness tasks. He is given the choice of participating in coaching calls, well-being assessments, and biometric screenings. There is also an option of completing online items, which includes tracking food, weight, and fitness. He can earn up to $350 in gift cards. So far, he’s earned and we’ve received $250.
I’ve calculated that these benefits alone are saving us over $500 a year. Plus, the $250 we are banking in gift cards. That is a nice chunk of change where I’m concerned. If we hadn’t learned to maximize our employer’s health and wellness benefits, we would be essentially losing money. If the financial benefits aren’t incentive enough to put in the work, well programs are designed to help employees meet their physical health goals. That is a pretty good trade-off if you ask me.
Author Bio: Brandy is a married college graduate in her late-20s living in Ohio with her husband and 3 pets. She is dedicated to paying off their accumulated debt while remembering to squeeze in a little fun here and there. She is working toward this goal by working a full-time and part-time job, while also getting creative along the way. You can follow her journey at Busted Budget.
*Image credit – Flickr