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December 2013
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How Much Would Your Employer Pay for You To Be Healthy?

For lots of employers, the answer seems to be plenty:

King County, Washington, was one of the first local governments to use rewards and penalties to encourage healthier behaviors. A decade ago, the county panicked as health care costs were growing at a pace of 15 percent every year. Then-executive Ron Sims convened a task force that included physicians, health care policy and legal experts, economists and labor and business leaders to develop a strategy to address health care costs from the perspective of both patients and the employers paying for their coverage.

Sims told the Seattle Times at the time, “I refuse to sit back and allow the county and its employees to be victims of these seemingly uncontrollable cost increases. Further, I refuse to accept there are only two choices: reducing benefits to our employees and their families, or paying crippling annual increases. Tweaking the edges of the problem will no longer work.”

Out of the task force’s recommendations was borne Healthy Incentives — a voluntary wellness program for its employees and their families. While everyone receives the same medical benefits coverage, their out-of-pocket costs (deductibles and co-pays) vary according to their level of participation in the Healthy Incentives program. Those who choose not to participate receive a Bronze status, with the highest out-of-pocket costs. To attain a Gold status, with the lowest out-of-pocket costs, you need to complete a health risk assessment and complete a personal wellness plan. The individual action plans might include texting in a log of healthy activities, joining Weight Watchers at Work, attending YMCA classes to learn how to prevent diabetes through nutrition and exercise, or working with a Quit for Life coach on the phone to quit smoking. The difference between the Bronze and Gold tiers can make a difference of as much as $2,400 per year for a family of four.

The Future of Getting Paid to Be Healthy

Does your employer have an incentive program? Tell us about it in our discussion forum!

Related posts:

  1. Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to San Francisco Universal Healthcare Program; Healthy San Francisco To Continue
  2. Open Enrollment: Is Your Employer Pushing You To High-Deductible Health Insurance?
  3. Smokers Being Charged More Even For Employer-Based Health Insurance
  4. Can an Employer Wellness Program Save You Money on Your Health Insurnace Premiums?
  5. Healthcare Reform: Obama Administration Issues Rules on Employer Health Insurance

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