Bribing People to be Healthier

Per this article, certain insurance companies are actually now incentivizing healthier activity (via use of fitbit and so on) for their clients. 

John Hancock, a unit of Manulife Financial Corp., recently expanded an optional program to reward customers for healthy habits. Participants can earn points for tracking their daily jogs or for their meditation practice, and then use those points for rewards toward purchases on Amazon and other sites. Sometimes they can even save money on premiums.

What’s in it for insurers? For one thing, if policyholders live longer, insurers don’t have to pay out as soon, according to Chad Hersh, a vice president for insurance at consulting firm Capgemini. Even if wearing a wrist computer doesn’t by itself make anyone live longer, there may be a more subtle advantage for insurers. The customers who want to sign up for such a program might be a little more health-conscious—and less risky to cover.

Of course it’s purely dollars and sense for them, but it makes sense for other walks of life too.  I would love to have my employer bribe… er… incentivize myself and my fellow employees in a similar fashion.  Perhaps it could lead to a lower group insurance rate?  I can’t help but see these programs (even if driven mainly by cost savings) having anything but pure upside.

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