yogasun-300x200Yoga initiatives improves health and reduces costs according to Aetna studies. A yoga and meditation initiative for stressed employees helped them reduce their heart rates and helped Aetna increase productivity and lower health benefit costs 7%, CEO Mark Bertolini told the Third Metric conference.

Ezekiel Emanuel of the University of Pennsylvania said while data on the efficacy of wellness programs overall is mixed, prevention efforts, including traditional wellness programs, are important for saving money and improving health.

In Huffington Post article Company Wellness Programs May Boost Bottom Lines, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini Says when Aetna determined in 2010 that its workers with the highest levels of stress were costing the company $2,000 more each year than co-workers, the company created an initiative to promote yoga and meditation. Bertolini said at the Third Metric conference co-sponsored by The Huffington Post in New York Thursday. The results include improvements in heart rates and increased productivity.


“Stress can have a significant impact on physical and mental health, so there is a strong need for programs that help people reduce stress as part of achieving their best health,” said Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark T. Bertolini. “The results from the mind-body study provide evidence that these mind-body approaches can be an effective complement to conventional medicine and may help people improve their health, something that I have experienced personally.”


Yoga and Stretching

The study participants included 239 Aetna employees in California and Connecticut who volunteered for the two mind-body stress reduction programs. As part of the studies, 96 employees were randomly assigned to mindfulness-based classes, 90 were randomly assigned to therapeutic yoga classes and 53 were randomly assigned to the control group.

The Affordable Care Act  recognizes the benefits of wellness which also includes alternative medicines such as yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture etc.  Long awaited guidance on how employers can institute a wellness program using financial incentives and discounts were released recently – Final Wellness Incentive Rule Released.

Does your company offer a wellness program? For more information, you may review the final rules in their entirety.  For MMS Corp previous blogs on wellness, click here. we will keep you posted on future PPACA wellness program opportunities.  Ask us for more info on Aetna Wellness, Yoga,  and how we can help you implement a healthy program for your staff.

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The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position, or opinions of MMS Corp. This update is provided for informational purposes. Please consult with a licensed accountant or attorney regarding any legal and tax matters discussed herein.

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