Updated: Aug 10, 2020
Before becoming a FitPros Wellbeing Manager my knowledge of ‘Wellness Dollars’ was limited and even now, working with insurance providers regularly, I can’t say I fully understand when, where and how many Wellness Dollars each one of my accounts are eligible for. Unfortunately, this is not information I have access to either, however, I do have the ability to share with each and every client basic information (given to me by others with more insight into Wellness Dollars than I), and advice on something I have become very good at... How to ask the right questions, what questions to ask and how to obtain the Wellness dollars that are rightfully yours!
What are Wellness Dollars?
Wellness Dollars are funds that insurance carriers set aside for their clients to utilize for the soul purpose of making their employees happier and healthier. If you were not familiar, FitPros’ mission is to “Motivate health and happiness through physical movement and mindful education where people spend the most time-- at work!” So it is only natural that when we hear that there is free money available to our clients, that can make our goals possible (making their employees healthier) we encourage them strongly to inquire.
Why are Wellness Dollars available?
One of my favorite statistics to share with clients is from the business journals article “Poor Wellbeing is Killing Your Business,” where Tom Rath and Jim Harter (authors of the bestseller Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements) share “Employees who are thriving in their overall well-being have 41% lower health-related costs compared with those who are struggling and 62% lower costs compared with those who are suffering.”
So there you have it, the money set aside by insurance carriers is meant to improve their bottom line. Which brings me to my next point. Don’t be afraid to ask for those funds. Insurance carriers, like you and like FitPros, want your employees to thrive and be healthier.
Where do I begin to inquire about Wellness Dollars?
Reach out! Yes, it is that simple. Most insurance carriers do provide Wellness Dollars and just because you have not heard about these funds, does not mean they do not exist. Unfortunately, this FREE money also has a time limit... if you do not use it, you lose it! And if you are lucky enough to have a provider who maps out all information, guidelines and restrictions, regarding your Wellness dollars, the following section will not be of interest. If you are like the majority of my clients who did not even know Wellness Dollars existed you will want to read on.
What are the right questions to ask?
Who do I speak to about my Wellness funds? (Your broker should be able to answer this question and/or your Insurance Provider Account Manager will be able to answer this question).
When are my Wellness funds available to be utilized? And conversely when do they expire? (If you don’t use it you lose it, and you will need to use the funds in a designated window of time that usually relates to your insurance plan renewal).
How many Wellness Dollars do I have? And will this number change? (it often does, don’t expect your Wellness funds to be the same year over year, sometimes it will be more, sometimes it will be less).
What can I use my Wellness Dollars on? (This information changes company to company but according to Burnalong “You might be surprised by the wide-variety of offerings you can choose to spend your Wellness Dollars on”).
What should I spend my Wellness Dollars on? (Hold up, this is where FitPros and/or any Wellness consultancy agency comes into play) Please read on..
What should I spend my Wellness Dollars on?
This question can not be answered by a blanket statement like “6 fitness classes a year and two nutrition seminars will ensure your employees will be happier, healthier and more productive.” I wish that was the case, but if anyone tells you they have a perfect formula for “Wellness success,” (sorry to be the bearer of bad news) they are lying! FitPros Wellbeing Managers all understand that each employee demographic is different, and even each office location within a company may have very different needs. FitPros also hopes that you utilize Wellness funds for onsite Wellness services, however, we ourselves as a company do not simply utilize in person Wellness offerings. It is important to have a Wellness Program that can appeal to your entire population (this is easier said than done). Choose fitness classes like bootcamp or yoga, that can be adjusted for all levels, host workshops that have components that can speak to each and every type of person in your office, don’t be afraid to embrace digital Wellness and/or to use Wellness funds for gyms stipends. FitPros partners with companies like Wellright (for digital) and Classpass (for gym stipends) to ensure when our clients need to make holistic offerings available to their entire population, we can either be the resource or be the intermediary who introduces them to the resource.
At the end of the day, the true purpose of this article is to empower HR Leads, People Operations Specialists or anyone tasked with Wellness at their office, with the information they need to do their job to the best of their ability, and subsequently better the lives of the employees they care so much about!
Want to spend Wellness Dollars on onsite programs?
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