Under the Affordable Care Act, employers will be able to offer significant financial incentives to workers who participate in wellness programs – as well as penalties for those who choose not to do so. These will apply to tobacco users who choose not to quit, and are fairly straightforward. The incentives it is possible to offer, however, vary widely. Rewards for participation in health activities and for meeting specific health goals are both allowed.

Employee benefits administration may change as a result of these new possibilities, but it is likely to be a positive alteration. Studies show the return on investment of employee wellness to be very high, both in terms of health care costs and reduced absenteeism. Partnering with the organization that provides its benefits can help an organization create the best wellness program for its needs.

Employee wellness programs often involve conversations about topics that can be sensitive, such as being overweight or obese. Human resources professionals need to ensure all employees, whether permanent or temporary workers, understand the company's concern lies with supporting them rather than shaming them. Handled correctly, benefits programs have the potential not only to save an organization money on health care but to change workers' lives for the better.

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