Financial wellness, health coaching to become major wellness initiatives in new year

Yardley, Pa. (December 11, 2019) - The new year is often a time to refocus on health, wellness, and new goals for the year. It’s also when new company benefit programs take effect, expanding employee access to health and wellness options. To help employees maximize their new benefits, StayWell, a leading provider of employer well-being solutions, has identified the five key wellness trends to watch in 2020.

As the employer wellness market continues to grow, valued at $90B according to Grand View Research, there are key elements that are helping to capture the attention of the market and gain traction among employers and participants. And with wearable devices to AI to athleisure wear, more individuals are taking an active role in their health and wellness, making the new year a prime opportunity to invest in new trends.

"Employers continue to see strong outcomes and positive return from investments into employee wellness programs, with increases in productivity, stronger engagement, and a positive company culture," said Mitch Collier, senior vice president of product management for StayWell. "More companies are taking a proactive approach to health and wellness benefits, adding new concepts and programs that have received positive employee support in boosting workplace wellness."

Five Wellness Trends to Watch in 2020:

  1. Financial Wellness: With 64 percent of Americans experiencing stress about money[1], getting finances under control can help to improve employee health and productivity. Look for more employers to offer financial wellness programs for employees, including those like the new online offerings from StayWell, to reduce employees’ anxiety related to a lack of financial knowledge.

  2. Technology Integration: As wearables and online platforms allow users to sync data in real-time, expect more employers to move to a mobile platform as the hub of information for all health interactions. Allowing employees to connect with their health info via smartphones makes employer health programs more accessible to remote workforces and those outside a traditional office setting, encouraging an even more accessible approach to employee health and wellness.

  3. Wellness at Work: From company walking groups to onsite fitness facilities to treadmill desks, wellness is making its way into the office. More employers are seeing the benefits of even small investments in workplace health, through offerings like standing desks and healthier food options in breakrooms. This trend will continue to trickle down to small-to-medium sized businesses throughout 2020 as prices become more accessible.

  4. Flexible work/life balance: More employers are embracing flexible working hours and remote work in response to Gen Z and Millennials pushing for greater work/life balance. Advanced technology and an always-on culture mean that work isn’t restricted to an office or from 9-5. Expect more employers to offer flexible work options and generous leave policies for employees in 2020.

  5. Health Coaching: As access to care providers is increasingly strained, more employers are utilizing health coaches to bridge the gap between health and wellness. StayWell provides health coaching on behalf of employers to help employees set goals, identify obstacles and find solutions, creating buy-in and tailored experiences. More employers will be adding health coaches as an extension of their benefits in the new year, helping to create workplace cultures of healthier, more productive employees.

Collier says other employer benefit trends on the rise include stress management and meditation, wellness programs to improve workplace safety, and greater parental leave policies for new parents. He adds, “more companies are starting to view wellness programs as a business objective instead of an employee perk, understanding the correlation between improving employee health and company performance.”

StayWell provides innovative health and well-being solutions to leading employers across the country. For more than 40 years, the company has been a pioneer in employee well-being solutions that lower health risks, increase program engagement, and reduce costs for large businesses and public sector clients everywhere.

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 About StayWell

StayWell is a health empowerment company that enables populations to improve health outcomes through the science of behavior change. For more than 40 years, the company has been a pioneer in employer well-being and patient education solutions that lower risks and reduce costs. StayWell has earned numerous top industry honors for its population health programs, including the C. Everett Koop National Health Award and the Web Health Award. The company has also received Utilization Review Accreditation Committee (URAC) and National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) accreditation for several of its programs. StayWell is majority-owned by Healthcare Services & Solutions, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. The company is headquartered in Yardley, Pa., with additional locations including St. Paul, Minn. and Portland, Ore. To learn more, visit www.staywell.com or connect with StayWell on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

About Merck

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world - including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer's disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of The StayWell Company, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company’s 2018 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).

About Vestar Capital Partners

Vestar Capital Partners is a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments. Vestar invests and collaborates with incumbent management teams and private owners to build long-term enterprise value, with a focus on Consumer, Healthcare, and Business Services & Industrial Products. Since its founding in 1988, Vestar funds have completed more than 80 investments in companies – as well as more than 200 add-on acquisitions – with a total value of approximately $50 billion. For more information, please visit www.vestarcapital.com.

Media contact / Matt Longman / 214-620-4364 / mlongman@staywell.com

[1] Stress in America™: Paying With Our Health survey released today by the American Psychological Association. 02/2015.