In response to the Affordable Care Act, employers are adopting wellness programs to encourage their employees to pursue healthier lifestyles, but they are not always effective. Associate Professor of Law Jessica Roberts is Director of the Health Law and Policy Institute. Her research looks at the reasons for this.
“One reason for those shortfalls could be that not all employees can actually benefit,” Roberts said. “Employees who live in neighborhoods without grocery stores where they can buy healthy food or who lack transportation to the gym cannot actually make healthier choices. If the wellness program does not benefit all employees, that raises concerns about social justice and health care access.”
Roberts feels there are ways to improve these programs. “Wellness programs can facilitate healthy decision-making on the job, such as offering free, healthy snacks at work and creating opportunities to exercise during the workday. “