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Effectiveness of Wellness Programs Could Impact Employer Decisions to Enter Exchanges in 2017

The Commonwealth Fund reports that the success of workplace wellness programs could have an impact on whether employers decide to move their workers into the new health insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, an official from CVS Caremark suggested at an event last week.

Troy Brennan, executive vice president and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, said he thinks there is a big chance that many employers will be considering how they can use the exchanges in 2017 or 2018. (The ACA sets 2017 as the date when states have the option of opening up exchanges to employers with more than 50 employees.)  Workplace wellness programs factor into that picture, Brennan argued, "so it's a really critical time" to examine them. 

"The reason why you offer workplace-based health insurance is because you think you're going to be able to promote better health in your workforce, and as a result of that, have a better operating company," he said. "If these wellness programs don't work or if they turn out to be sort of bankrupt or maybe they're just targeting the wrong people, then I think there's less and less of an argument to maintain employer-based insurance and a lot of employers are going to be looking at sort of, "what should we be doing with the exchanges?'" 

Brennan spoke at an event focused on the effectiveness of wellness workplace programs. It was sponsored by the Alliance for Health Reform and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

Posted by Cristie Travis at 6:51 AM

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