The impact of the highmark employee wellness programs on 4-year healthcare costs

Barbara L. Naydeck, Janine A. Pearson, Ronald J. Ozminkowski, Brian T. Day, Ron Z. Goetzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To determine the return on investment (ROI) of Highmark Inc.'s employee wellness programs. METHODS: Growth curve analyses compared medical claims for participants of wellness programs versus risk-matched nonparticipants for years 2001 to 2005. The difference was used to define savings. ROI was determined by subtracting program costs from savings and alternative discount rates were applied in a sensitivity analysis. RESULTS: Multivariate models estimated health care expenses per person per year as $176 lower for participants. Inpatient expenses were lower by $182. Four-year savings of $1,335,524 compared with program expenses of $808,403 yielded an ROI of $1.65 for every dollar spent on the program. CONCLUSIONS: Using sophisticated methodology, this study suggests that a comprehensive health promotion program can lower the rate of health care cost increases and produce a positive ROI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-156
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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