A study by RAND corporation, a nonprofit research group, has found that wellness programs are not always as successful at saving costs as they might seem. "Disease management" programs aimed at helping people with chronic illnesses to stay healthy were found to produce significant cost savings. However, "lifestyle management" programs, such as ones that try to reduce health risks that don't yet exist, do not result in any savings.

The study examined over 67,000 workers in PepsiCo's wellness program, tracking participants for seven years. It was found that disease management creates savings of $136 per member per month, mostly from reduced hospital visits. However, lifestyle management had no significant effect at all.

Soeren Mattke, a senior natural scientist at RAND and the study's senior author, says helping workers whose baseline medical expenses are already significant is an easy way of reducing costs.

"Cutting one hospital admission saves a lot of money," he said.

Advocates for wellness programs emphasize that healthcare costs will likely increase with Obamacare compliance, and so matters like prevention or maintenance will become important. 

Working with an employer of record to hire contract workers means employee benefits are one less thing for businesses to worry about.

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