Impacts of Workplace Health Promotion and Wellness Programs on Health Care Utilization and Costs: Results From an Academic Workplace

J Occup Environ Med. 2015 Nov;57(11):1159-69. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000555.


Objective: This study evaluated the impacts of a long-standing workplace health promotion (HP) program on health care utilization and costs and estimated return on investment (ROI).

Methods: Analyses used a retrospective, observational cohort design based on 7 years (2005 to 2011) of health claims and HP program participation data for 3829 HP participants and 6617 controls. Inverse propensity score-weighted mixed-model regression methods were used to balance employee demographics and comorbidities by study arm.

Results: Mean monthly health care costs were $35 less for HP participants compared with controls, and results were robust based on sensitivity analyses. ROI was estimated to be $2.53 for every dollar spent on the HP program.

Conclusions: Results support a positive impact of HP program participation with regard to reduced health care utilization and costs and a positive ROI.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Promotion / economics
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • North Carolina
  • Occupational Health Services / economics
  • Occupational Health Services / methods
  • Occupational Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Propensity Score
  • Retrospective Studies