CHN Health Matters

Has your employer asked you to complete a health risk assessment?


This past month I completed a health risk assessment (HRA). This is a procedure that more employers are asking employees to complete. What is an HRA and why are they being done? 

It is no secret that the cost of health care has been rising rapidly over the last 20 years. Employers have traditionally provided health insurance for its employees as a benefit. The health care costs are a large part of the budget. So, employers are trying to find ways to minimize their health care costs. One way is to raise the amount the employee contributes to health care premiums. This is something most employees are experiencing already. The other way is to have a healthier group of employees.

One way to improve the health of employees is to provide opportunities through wellness programs that promote healthy lifestyles. Another strategy is to use financial incentives to improve health. 

This is where the HRA comes into the picture. Employers figure that generally employees with the highest health risks are going to have higher health care expenses. Health is not easy to measure. The HRA is an attempt to assign a numeric value to health risk based on questions regarding lifestyle and by measuring biometrics. Biometrics is generally lab tests and basic vital measurements. 

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