Monday, March 29, 2010

Workplace Incentives to Healthy Living

Link to March 28 New York Times article, "Carrots, Sticks, and Lower Premiums".

Excerpt:    For all the debate lately, one basic fact about America’s health care crisis is rarely mentioned. Namely, the one thing that could really reform health care is you, collectively speaking: People living healthier lives.

The statistical evidence has been clear for years, but it bears repeating. Studies show that 50 percent to 70 percent of the nation’s health care costs are preventable. Much of that expense goes to treat a few chronic conditions that are closely linked to behavior, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. Bad genes and bad luck matter, of course. But behavior — exercise and choice of diet — matters most.

So why not pay people to live healthier lives? In fact, a fledgling “pay for prevention” industry is beginning to emerge, offering employers ways to reward workers with cash or reduced insurance premiums for exercising more and eating wisely. Among the industry’s early entries are RedBrick Health, Tangerine Wellness and Virgin HealthMiles.

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