Incentives For Better Health on the Rise

April 28, 2012 by  

More companies in the Sunshine State are encouraging their employees to lead more active, healthy lifestyles by offering incentives and discouraging more unhealthy habits such as smoking. The hope is that by dangling the proverbial carrot on a stick to walk every day or to get annual medical checkups, health insurance costs may be lowered.

Some Miami workers are enjoying cash prizes for cooperating with employers to maintain physical health and are even being swayed to placate medical insurers by having blood tests and other screenings to keep on top of a positive health status.

While some disgruntled employees feel coerced, the majority are happily compliant. The trend is toward more corporate participation with two cross country surveys predicting that by 2016, perhaps 64 per cent of business in corporate America may begin offering rewards for good health. With this practice trending upwards, print services employees in the Miami area may find themselves hitting the treadmill, too.

“With the population aging and a trend in the United States to be less and less healthy … more and more employers are jumping on the bandwagon of health management,” said Matthew Snook, of health benefits consultant Mercer, which has an office in Florida.

An example of the practice is the health incentives offered by American Express. The company encourages employees to walk more than two miles a day. If they do, $200 is placed in their health spending accounts. This year, the credit card company also makes available free one-year memberships to Weight Watchers.