What would you do to reduce your health insurance premiums? How about walking at least 5,000 steps a day? That worked for a group of 6,548 adults who chose stepping up to the challenge rather than seeing their health insurance costs shoot up by 20 percent. Researchers from the University of Michigan Health System and Stanford University reported that only three percent of the participants in this study failed to meet the goal of 5,000 steps a day or 450,000 steps per quarter to hold down their insurance costs. The financial incentive program came from the Blue Care Network, which required policyholders who were obese and were enrolled in the Healthy Blue Living Program to participate in a fitness plan to defer an increase in their premiums. One of the programs involves use of a digital pedometer and uploads daily steps walked to a tracking web site. The researchers reported that one-third of the participants characterized the financial incentives as coercive, but all the rest liked the program.
Donna M. Zulman et al, “Implementation and evaluation of an incentivized Internet-mediated walking program for obese adults,” Translational Behavioral Medicine May 2013, DOI10.1007/s13142-013-0211-6