Some popular health insurance companies in Colorado are making the news with their healthy employee incentive programs.
A growing number of companies in Colorado and nationwide are offering free medical screenings, discounts or cash incentives to motivate employees to exercise more, eat better and quit smoking. They hope that a healthier work force will contain costs in an era of spiraling health care expenses.
“Employers know there’s a direct correlation to their bottom line. People who are smokers are undoubtedly at a greater risk for cancer, and that’s going to cost them money,” said Wendy Morphew, an Aetna spokeswoman.
Many plans, like Kaiser Permanente’s Practicing Prevention program – which includes online health risk assessment and free classes at Kaiser centers for smoking cessation and weight management – typically cost employers 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent more to add as a benefit. The programs are usually available to companies with at least 100 participating employees.
Health care companies offer some of the most generous wellness incentives. Aetna deposits as much as $600 a year in employees’ health savings accounts for taking preventative steps like getting a flu shot, while Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield gives its physically active employees points that can be redeemed for items ranging from water bottles to digital cameras.
It’s good to see that three of our biggest health insurance companies in Colorado are walking the walk.