Employers Plan to Invest in Employee Health and Wellness

According to the 10th annual Optum Wellness in the Workplace study, more than 80 percent of employers said they are planning to increase their health and wellness budgets in the coming year, which is more than double compared to 2009 (34 percent). In addition, more than twice as many employers say that workplace well-being programs are more important to their employee benefits mix today than they were a decade ago (33 percent in 2009 to 77 percent in 2018). While the percentage of employers saying they offer wellness programs to reduce long-term health care costs has stayed relatively steady over the last 10 years (around 80 percent), other factors are now viewed as equally important by employers:

  • 79 percent say they now offer wellness programs to improve absenteeism/presenteeism
  • 78 percent use the programs to attract and retain talent
  • 76 percent say they use wellness programs to improve and maintain employee morale

Mental and behavioral health is also top of mind for many. Eighty-four percent of employers are concerned about substance use. Nearly 90 percent of employers say they are planning to address stigma surrounding mental health; a similar number are concerned about the level of access to behavioral health services.