Employee Incentives for Healthy Choices Reduce Health Care Costs
By Dave Reynolds
Traditionally, health care starts with a physician. But now, with work-life balances and the overall health care landscape changing, employers are increasingly being held responsible for the health and well-being of their employees. More than 61 percent of American adults receive their health insurance through their employer, which explains why there is more focus on employers to not only help their employees live healthier lives, but also to reduce health care costs.
Many health benefits plans offer incentive or rewards programs aimed at helping members achieve better health. In addition to motivating and rewarding workers for living a healthy lifestyle, participating in rewards programs can help to keep claim costs and insurance premiums to a minimum. It also reduces the cost burden on every aspect of the nation’s health care system.
HumanaVitalitySM is a good example of how incentive or reward programs offered by insurers work to reduce costs – and most importantly to improve overall health. The HumanaVitality program incents its members with rewards for making healthy choices and achieving their wellness goals, based on scientific reporting, in four categories: fitness, healthy living, prevention and education.
Depending on a member’s personalized goals, which take factors like age into account, members might earn points for getting active, losing weight and eating healthier. They might also receive points through
screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index to establish a baseline for objectively tracking their wellness data. Or, they could get points for taking wellness-based classes, such as CPR certification. Children could even earn points toward a family’s rewards by receiving immunizations, or participating in sports.
Members can then redeem their accumulated Vitality PointsTM on more than 600,000 available rewards, such as movie tickets, brand-name merchandise, hotel stays or even health care discounts.
This white paper sponsored by Humana Inc., in partnership with the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (MCHC), offers detailed information about the variety of incentive programs available through health benefits providers, including examples of successful programs and advice on how to implement a program in your workplace. You can also talk to your insurance consultant or broker about this unique opportunity to improve the health of your employees – while helping to reduce health care system costs.
Dave Reynolds is president of Humana’s Illinois Commercial market. He oversees the strategic planning, direction, growth and management of all Commercial and Specialty benefits business in Illinois.