Make Healthy Choices, Get a Discount on Your Health Insurance – But Not in Maine

Make Healthy Choices, Get a Discount on Your Health Insurance – But Not in Maine

July 16, 2006 Posted by Tarren Bragdon - No Comments

Innovation in health insurance products is occuring across the county. Recently, Blue Care Network of Michigan announced a new program to encourage employees to live healthier lifestyles. If employees commit to a healthy lifestyle, are already in good health or begin taking steps toward improved health, then they can earn a 10% discount on premiums and lower deductibles and copays.
Here’s how it works: Points are given for favorable results or behaviors in six categories: alcohol use, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, smoking status and weight. Twenty-five points for not smoking. Fifteen points for positive results in most other categories. These six categories were selected because they are the leading causes of chronic illness and costs which can be controlled. A point total of 80 or more qualifies a person for the discount. The primary care physician will develop an individualized care plan as necessary to help those scoring below 80 work to improve their score over time (and get the discount).
All members also will have access to free smoking cessation and weight loss programs, and free programs that focus on health education and assist with chronic illness. In addition, experienced health coaches will work with members on an individual basis.
Now, employees will have even more incentives to focus on good health.
Sadly, Maine’s insurance regulations do not allow such health insurance product innovations here. Maine policymakers could learn from the Wolverine State and allow more affordable, innovative health plans to be sold to Maine businesses and families.