Health Plan Members Receive Incentive to Work Out

Here’s an idea worth noting — a health plan that is actually helping its member stay healthy.

The Minnetonka, Minn. – based Medica has announced that effective immediately, more than 16,500 Medica MinnesotaCare members are eligible for a program whereby those who participate in a Fit Choices program will get a $20 monthly membership credit just for exercising at a participating health club location eight or more days per month.

Medica members will present their Medica ID card at participating Fit Choices by Medica health clubs and the club helps the member enroll in the program and tracks their attendance.  Qualifying members then receive a $20 credit toward their health club monthly dues.

Data from a study of the impact of Medica’s Fit Choices program show that Medica members who began a new, regular program of exercise have seen a decrease in claim costs after just two years in the program with an average claim cost decrease of more than 33 percent on a per member per month basis during the period.

Medica says that other studies show that helping people stay healthy not only saves lives, it controls health care costs. An estimated 70 percent of all illnesses are due to lifestyle-related causes such as obesity and physical inactivity, and one-half of all medical costs are attributable to illnesses that could be prevented.

Health Plan Innovation Take: Politicians can argue all day long about which is the better health plan, but until we make a concerted effort to address some of the root causes of the nation’s sub-par health status, we will continue to spend more money and get less satisfactory results. More health plans should follow the lead of Medica by encouraging their members to take responsibility for their own good health.

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