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Insurance Companies: Pay for Exercise

You’ve seen firsthand how exercise helps clients lose weight, lower blood pressure and achieve other health benefits. Insurance companies are responding to results like these by becoming increasingly willing to provide cash incentives for people who work out.

Blue Shield of California, for example, is starting a pilot program that offers cash to its members who adopt healthy lifestyles. Approximately 25,000 subscribers are eligible to receive up to $200 for participating in Healthy Lifestyle Rewards, Blue Shield’s online health incentive program. The pilot program uses financial incentives, interactive health promotions and online tracking tools to encourage participants to address behaviors that have the greatest impact on healthy living. Participants can earn from $75 to $200, depending on their level of participation.

Fit Choices by Medica also offers financial incentives. Beginning late last year, more than 400,000 Medica members could take charge of their health and wellness via comprehensive programming, including Medica-subsidized fitness center memberships. For example, for members in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Fit Choices includes subsidized membership to Life Time Fitness Centers. Members who exercise at Life Time Fitness Center at least eight times per month receive a $20 monthly credit from Medica toward the payment of their dues. This could cover up to 40 percent of the fee, depending on the membership selected. Members also benefit from a 50 percent savings on the club’s initiation fee. In addition Fit Choices includes access to My ePHIT (Personal Health Improvement Training), an online resource that offers customized health improvement programs, advice, encouragement and rewards.

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