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Would you get more healthy if you were paid to do it?

A new approach to health care shares a common perspective: the idea that consumers' out-of-pocket medical costs should be based on the value of a service to their health rather than its price.

By Abha Bhattarai  |  November 30, 2010; 8:29 AM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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HMM so what is healthy. Someone with MS is not healthy. When would penalizing people with poor health run against Americans with Disability laws?

Posted by: alterego3 | November 30, 2010 10:58 AM

Matters like this encourage the recognition of the great lie told by nearly all employers: "Our employees are our greatest asset!" That must rank up there with the other greates lies ever told...
If we instead reorganized our accounting system so that employers were in fact encouraged to treat employees as assets rather than liabilities (the liability column is where your salary costs go in the ledger, employee layoffs protect the longterm vialbility of a company) then there'd be no discussion about whether employers should encourage healthy lifestyles. Employers would do everything they could to protect their employee assets as they do with all other assets.
And it wouldn't be communism either! How can it be socialistic to enhance the value of a company by allowing it to account for their employees as assets. Oh, the implications!
Neil A. Bourjaily
Durango, CO

Posted by: MrChili | November 30, 2010 11:07 AM

I had a boss who would not hire someone who smoked. She figured she would lose an hour a day from a smoker who took smoke breaks. That doesn't even take into account the related costs to health insurance.

Posted by: pepperjade | November 30, 2010 11:11 AM

Why is it that people feel the need to be paid for what they are supposed to do in their daily lives? A more viable strategy is to penalize people for leading unhealthy lifestyles (less sick leave or higher health care premiums, for example). Sorry, but take care of yourself first, and you'll be a better employee for it in the long run.

Posted by: biohodge | November 30, 2010 1:29 PM

I already lead a very health lifestyle, but I could pretend to need a little help if the price is right.

Posted by: forgetthis | November 30, 2010 3:35 PM

These are the kinds of questions asked in "polls" that truly distinguish Americans as the stupidest people on earth.
Americans will do most anything for money and will follow the corporate mindset that has taken over this Orwellian country with few questions asked. And they will follow this mindlessly throughout their boring, pathetic and self-righteous lives, believing they will live longer and be better than anyone who disagrees with them. They will also believe that if they quit smoking or drinking or using illegal drugs (what about the cornucopia of prescription drugs we have invented for every conceivable ailment?), that US healthcare costs will decline.

Please! Excuse me. It's time for me to have a cigarette, mix a martini and burn a bowl!

Posted by: GDWymer | November 30, 2010 6:48 PM

I once knew an employee who got paid for preventive health activities; she took all the classes but never really implemented the healthy activities she learned about; she stayed overweight and unhealthy. Why not based health insurance premiums(Medicare and all others) on one's BMI each year. If the cost would encourage the obese to lose weight, many of their chronic diseases could be eliminated.

Posted by: dotboy10 | December 1, 2010 5:35 AM

I think that people who choose to lead healthy lifestyles (ie, maintain healthy weight, don't smoke, exercise, are compliant, etc.) should be rewarded. My husband and I do all of the above, so I rather resent the fact that we have to pay more to cover people who make bad lifestyle choices, choices which contribute to their poor health and over time become very expensive. Obesity is the biggest medical crisis facing this country, and preventable.

Posted by: ggwalt | December 1, 2010 6:25 AM

How much? My health insurance premiums total up about 3000 bucks a year. And I'm about as low risk a customer as a HMO could find.

Why should I support someone who spends 3 hours per day in a car, hits the drive thru at Burger King going to/from work, and can't be bothered to take the stairs to the second floor? That person's insurance company will probably pay for gastric bypass surgery too.

Giving that person 50 buck per year and a discount on gym membership ain't going to do a thing. A shock collar and a personal trainer might be able to change a person like this. Even then, the person will still be surrounded by all sorts of opportunities to make unhealthy choices.

But we must try or health care costs will end this American experiment. In 2009, health care costs represented 15% of GDP. Manufacturing was 12%. Financial services was 21%.

Posted by: bikes-everywhere | December 1, 2010 7:56 AM

Being healthy is a mentality and lifestyle. An organic apple shouldn't cost more than a twinkie. But at a bare minimum, people would be healthier if food companies didn't have so many chemicals and artificial preservatives, fat, hydrogenated oils, and salt in the food. Go back to nature and we'd all be healthier, deserts included.

Posted by: lidiworks1 | December 2, 2010 7:27 AM

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