Speed Reads

Evidence-based medicine

Workplace wellness programs: do they work?

These programs, where employers institute financial incentives for their workers to improve their health, with the idea that they will thus require less health-care spending, are now a $6 billion industry. Pay your workers not to smoke, for example, and perhaps they'll require fewer trips to the doctor.

Do these work? Aaron Caroll digs into the evidence below. The answer? Not really. There is evidence that some programs strictly targeted on disease management can provide some savings. But the broad programs aimed at improving health in general don't seem to work at reducing spending. Worse, employers often use them as a convenient excuse to shift costs from employers to workers. Watch the explanation in full below. --Ryan Cooper