Paid to stay healthy? Can you imagine insurance companies paying you to stay healthy? I can’t! Health insurance companies are routinely vilified for their practices. Now they are not only encouraging healthy behaviors, but actually paying you for it. It is a 180 degree change, but I will gladly take it. Is there something wrong about accepting money from the insurance company for doing what you would do anyway?
Is a few hundred dollars enough to encourage a healthier behavior? The insurance company wants to lower costs for you and they are willing to put their money where their mouth is! The Affordable Care Act was supposed to lower health care costs by insuring everybody. It did not go far enough to lower costs. If the insurance companies don’t do something soon, it will be too expensive to insure people.
Wellness programs are not new, but the insurance companies are getting more aggressive by paying for annual checkups or some other preventive services. It can be as much as $450 incentive in the form of gift cards, reduction in premiums or adding to your health savings account. It is an incentive to lower long term health costs by creating a healthier work force.
It is supposed to catch diseases early by treating the early signs of unhealthy behavior that ultimately cost the employer and the insurance. Treating high cholesterol, blood pressure and early signs of diabetes is less expensive than treating heart disease, stroke, heart attack or cardiac arrest. This makes sense, give an incentive to change behavior and save money.
Some may say that your employer is invading your privacy or trying to control behavior. Some employers will pay for smoking cessation programs. They are not telling you to stop smoking, but providing an incentive to stop. Is that invasion of privacy or looking out for your health and the company insurance plan? Other plans will pay for weight loss programs, lap band surgery or gym membership.
Discounts or actual reimbursement for participation is a great incentive to change your behavior. Participation in the wellness program is supposed to lower your risks of chronic diseases by preventive care and monitoring of the results. Some companies give incentives for changing behaviors and others penalize employees for not maintaining the healthy changes. It will take years until there is enough data to show that there are savings.
Would $450 or as much as $1,000 per family be enough to change your habits? Monetary incentives to do things you already do! It is a pretty good incentive to start walking, running, take the stairs, eating better, exercising and getting routine checkups. All in the name of controlling insurance costs! Not only will the employer benefit with lower costs, but the company will have a healthy workforce.
The benefits of a healthy workforce mean cost savings for the employer and more productivity. Employers and employees are happy with the cost savings and incentives. There are additional savings in lower worker’s comp claims, less time off for illness and higher productivity. Sounds like a win/win for both employers and employees. I am happy I am paid to stay healthy!
Photo by: mikebaird
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I am happy I am paid to stay healthy!
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