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New Vitality Study Reveals: Employers Reduced Claims Costs by 4% and Achieved ROI of 180% from Claims Savings on Health and Wellbeing Program

CHICAGO – February 15, 2024 – An analysis by data scientists for Vitality, a global health and wellbeing company specializing in behavior change, found employers saved an average of $462 in annual medical claims costs per engaged member. This translates to a total direct savings of $39.8 million – a 4% reduction in claims costs – across the study group of approximately 40,000 lives from five employers over five years. 

The analysis also found substantial productivity savings from risk improvements of 4.4 days per employee per year, which translates into $174 million in indirect savings. 

“As a result of our smart incentives that drive targeted behavior change, engaged Vitality members exercised more, had better nutrition habits, and stopped smoking according to the study,” said Maia Surmava, CEO, Vitality U.S. “This translated into significant health risk improvements and large increases in care-seeking behaviors related to Vitality engagement. Together, this creates meaningful value for both our clients and members.”

Additional insights from the analysis include:

  • Verified biometrics and lifestyle risk assessment data, taken an average of over five years apart, revealed a 16% improvement in the number of members who were considered low-risk and 23% fewer members considered high-risk versus expected last measurements.
  • Substantial improvements in lifestyle behaviors were observed with a 28% increase in the proportion of members exercising more than 150 minutes each week, a 34% increase in members eating sufficient fruits and vegetables servings each day, and 32% of members who identified as smokers at the initial measurement identifying as non-smokers at the end of the period.
  • Taking into consideration all program and incentive costs this resulted in a return on investment of 180% from direct claims savings.
  • Risk improvements translated into productivity savings from reduced health-related absenteeism and presenteeism. On average, employers gained 4.4 productive days per employee per year, which equals $1,047 in indirect savings for each employee every year. 
  • Engagement data also found that the program equitably engages individuals regardless of age, gender, and income and that the program sees success in engaging members with high claims costs.
  • Highly engaged members had 63% lower annual claims increases compared to less engaged members, resulting in a $29 per member per month difference in medical costs at the end of the five-year period. Similar results were observed for subgroups of members with chronic conditions and health risks. 
  • Highly engaged members, compared to low engaged members, were:

- 34% more likely to use preventive services

- 10% more likely to get immunizations
- 4% more likely to attend office visits with their physicians

- 21% less likely to visit the emergency room

Study Methodology

Vitality analyzed health and claims data for five large clients with at least five years of longitudinal medical claims data. Ranging in size from 2,150 eligible members to 32,400 eligible members, with an average of 12,000 eligible members, groups included in the analysis were between their seventh and tenth years in the program in 2022. The study looked at medical claims costs only and excluded pharmaceutical costs. Engagement rates across Vitality clients can vary depending on the levels of investment in the program and program support. The full Vitality Impact Study can be found here.

About Vitality Global

Vitality is part of Discovery Limited, a worldwide insurer and investment manager impacting more than 40 million members in over 40 markets worldwide, across Europe, the United States, Australia, Africa, Canada and China.

Vitality pioneered the ‘shared-value’ insurance model, a unique approach based on the scientifically proven principles of behavioural economics. Through this model, Vitality helps members take a more active role in managing their own wellness, encouraging them to develop healthy long-term habits that are good for them, good for the company and good for society. The effect is positive for all stakeholders – members benefit from better health, financial rewards and additional incentives; employers’ benefit from healthier, more productive, and more engaged employees; and Vitality benefits from a healthier membership base.

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