How much should I expect to spend on a wellness program?

Cost is more than price tag. It’s also about evaluating a program’s ability to engage and target the employees who can benefit most from better wellbeing.

The cost of wellness programs varies widely but generally are on the rise. According to a pre-COVID-19 pandemic 2020 study published by Business Group on Health, wellness programs have seen a 36% increase in cost. Typically, companies spend between $3 and $7 per employee per month ($36 – $84 annually) for a wellness platform, many of which include at least some level of health coaching. Scale can lower the per-employee cost of a wellness program, as companies with more employees usually see a lower cost-per-individual.

Average Cost Comparison for Wellness Programs

Standard Program ElementsIndustry Average LowIndustry Average HighWellSpark Average
Digital wellness platform + app (annually, per employee)$36$84$45
Incentives and rewards, such as gift cards (annually, per employee)$40$75$50
Individual health coaching sessions (per session)$50$350$120
Biometric screenings (per screening)$40$75$55
Pricing varies by client. Costs shown reflect an average of WellSpark clients and are subject to change.

Additional costs associated with implementing a wellness program might be:

  • Incentives: To drive program participation, employers might fund incentives and rewards, often in the form of gift cards or lower health insurance premiums.
  • Coaching: More individualized coaching and support is often offered for an additional fee, charged either per session or per month.
  • Events and Activities: Hosting wellness fairs or biometric screening events aid participation. Biometric screenings, for example, may cost between $40 and $75 per person.

These costs do not include extra customization, strategy and support, or individualized coaching services you may seek.  In many cases, employers may choose to purchase an additional single-point solution, such as those offering diabetes management or mental health support services.

How is WellSpark Priced?

WellSpark seeks to offer clients a cost advantage that reflects actual participation levels. For the first year of the WellSpark program, when engagement is typically lower, customers usually opt not to pay “full freight” but rather only for their employees who actually participate, along with a low “per employee per month” rate for access to WellSpark‘s digital support tools. Then, as participation increases, WellSpark applies guardrails to prevent unpredictable expense increases resulting from greater employee use of the program.

WellSpark’s program consists of three core components:

  1. Digital platform with accompanying app
  2. Personal health assessments and educational content
  3. Coaching

With WellSpark, companies of up to 2,000 employees can expect to spend $70 to $135 annually per employee, not inclusive of incentives or rewards. The more employees an organization has, the lower the cost per employee will be. WellSpark consultants work closely with clients to recommend the option that makes the most financial sense for achieving company wellness goals.

Learn more about how to select the right wellness program for your organization.

How to choose the right wellness program?

Cost, time and effectiveness are the factors to consider

Maybe you’ve decided that it’s time to try a wellness program to address factors that are negatively influencing the happiness, stability, and expenses related to the health of your workforce. The success of your business relies on employees who are focused on their work, show up consistently and reliably for your organization, and whose health doesn’t impose avoidable medical expenses and insurance claims. The behavioral changes that underpin these issues are what wellness programs are designed to affect. But, how do you know you’re choosing the right program—that will drive the change you’re looking for—and not investing in a wellness program that will miss the mark, not earn attention and participation from your workforce, and ultimately be yet another expense on top of the ones you had hoped to overcome?

Three key criteria should drive your research and comparison of wellness programs, and ultimately the choice you make: the cost, time and effort you must invest to earn employee interest and participation, and ultimately the results.

At this point, wellness programs appear to be a commodity. So many options are available that seemingly offer the same features, do the same thing, and are designed to deliver the same results. Shopping for the best price may seem like the logical approach to guide your selection process. But, how much you spend on a wellness program isn’t the only thing that determines the smartness of your decision. Rather, it’s whether you choose a program designed to address the issues you believe are at the core of where improvement is possible, especially among the employees you feel are most responsible for the challenges you want to overcome. Learn more about how cost should guide your wellness program choice.

Time investment
After you’ve chosen a wellness program to implement, the real work begins, which is driving adoption and engagement from your employees. A program can’t be successful if it doesn’t earn participation from the employees who will most benefit from it. When considering which wellness program to commit to, it’s important to understand what responsibility—meaning time and effort—you and your team will need to devote to crafting and delivering the activities and communications required to earn employee participation.

Evaluating effectiveness
Feeling confident that a wellness program offers a mechanism for measuring and demonstrating achievement of intended results is the most important factor among your decision-making criteria. Ultimately, being able to showcase positive results will determine whether your choice and implementation of a wellness program is viewed as a success, failure, smart investment, or waste of resources. The essential first step is yours, which is evaluating your organization’s challenges and identifying exactly where you feel wellness program intervention is needed, and how the circumstances that reflect the collective wellness of your workforce will look different if a program has done its job. For that to be possible, a wellness program must come with reporting that offers the visibility you need.

Where does WellSpark fit in among wellness programs?
WellSpark is for clients seeking a holistic, integrated wellness program to drive cultural shift within a workforce, not just target a single health issue.

WellSpark focuses on a variety of measures, including disease distress and forward-looking “future cost avoidance” rather than return-on-investment, which is a measure of past performance. WellSpark seeks to reach employees who are not yet part of the “sick care” system but who have the potential to become costly members in the future if no intervention is taken.

Your healthiest most wellness-conscious employees will jump at the chance to participate in a program. But they are the ones you least need to reach and influence. To impact change where it is needed, you need to reach and engage employees who ignore or resist participation. It’s not the largest potential participation that will drive the results you need, it’s participation from those who present the greatest barrier to achieving results, and who are usually the ones most difficult to reach and engage. That’s where WellSpark’s boutique, consultative, and customizable approach truly delivers.

Holistic versus single-point solution wellness programs
Although wellness programs come in variety of forms and are delivered through multiple modalities, one distinguishing factor can help in your research, evaluation, and decision among programs. If a program is a single-point-solution, it aims to address one health concern, such as prevention or management of diabetes. So, if you have identified more than one health or wellness issue to tackle with your workforce, you may need to consider more than one solution. In contrast, holistic programs, WellSpark being one example, consider biological, psychological, and social dimensions of a person’s health to address the whole wellness picture.

Let WellSpark help you determine what type of wellness program is the best fit for your organization. Contact us today.

Wellness tip: Get back to your roots

Research points to a direct correlation between spending time outdoors and improving mood, attention and cognition

According to Nielsen, most Americans spend more than 10 hours per day with their eyes on some kind of screen1. Assuming this screen time takes place largely indoors, and with research showing outdoor exposure can help boost mental health and benefit cognition, it’s no wonder our workforces are struggling with mental health and stress.

There are several health and wellness benefits linked to spending time outdoors. According to WebMD, these range from getting more exercise and vitamin D to improving sleep, fostering social connections, enhancing self-worth and focus, fortifying the immune system, bolstering creativity, and lowering stress and anxiety2.

An article from the American Psychological Association details just how much getting outside could benefit our overall wellbeing, including lowering stress, boosting mood, increasing empathy and cooperation, and improving attention3. According to a 2019 study cited in the article, people with exposure to natural environments showed improved memory, cognitive flexibility and attention.

Making time to be outdoors can be challenging in today’s bustling society. However, it doesn’t take much to receive the benefit — according to a study conducted in the United Kingdom, people who spend at least two hours in nature over the span of one week reported “significantly greater health and wellbeing.”


[1] Nielsen. “U.S. Consumers are Shifting the Time They Spend with Media.” Accessed Oct. 20, 2023.

[2] WebMD. “Health Benefits of Getting Outside.” Accessed Oct. 20, 2023.

[3] American Psychologicl Association. “Nurtured by nature: Psychological research is advancing our understanding of how time in nature can improve our mental health and sharpen our cognition.” Accessed Oct. 20, 2023.

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