NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 31, 2007

A health care pilot project this fall will test several new insurance products, including one that offers financial incentives for members to pass free health screenings, says the Cincinnati Enquirer.

According to the project's administrator, UnitedHealthcare:

  • The program will offer up to $2,000 off an annual deductible if a consumer meets certain standards after a free test for cholesterol, blood pressure, tobacco use and overall body mass.
  • It will be offered to businesses with 100 to 1,000 employees as part of a package that might include higher annual deductibles and lower monthly premiums.

As thousands of companies start to pick their employee health-care plans this fall and before hundreds of thousands of people enroll in plans in November, health insurers are adding similar programs, says the Enquirer.  Many of the new programs shift responsibility for health-care coverage to the person with coverage, with plenty of incentives for tests and screenings that will help lower costs.

As for plan members, they generally will respond better to incentives than to penalties for certain habits, such as smoking, said Devon Herrick, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas.

"I think incentives work better," Herrick said. "Hopefully a healthier employee is a better worker and a happier employee."

Source: Cliff Peale, "Pilot project to test incentives," Cincinnati Enquirer, August 31, 2007.


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