Incentives are often used among employers to increase employee participation in specific wellness program offerings and/or improve health outcomes by meeting specified health standards. The most commononly incentivized program is the completion of a Health Risk Assessment (HRA). Although evidence shows that incentives can increase participation, there is also growing evidence suggesting that long-term risk factor management requires more than just financial or extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation and intinsic values of health are increasingly recognized as essential for long-term, sustainable behavior change.
Employers considering incentives-based programming, whether participatory or health contingent (outcomes-based), need to take careful consideration on the type, size and direction of the reward. It is also important that they are aware of state and federal laws and take in account the final regulations under the Affordable Care Act.
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