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Do Group Health Insurance Wellness Incentives Actually Work?


Image: hobbs_luton under CC 3.0

An increasing number of companies are offering wellness incentives to their employees, in order to inspire them to maintain a healthy weight or quit smoking. Many of these benefits include the opportunity to have a higher portion of their health insurance premiums paid by the employer.

Tobacco use and obesity among the American workforce costs companies billions of dollars in increased health care costs, so it is a worthy goal. However, there are some doubts that the incentives are actually effective.

According to a study from Cornell University, the average weight loss in several of those employer programs was just one pound; too little to make a significant difference in health outcomes or group health insurance rates.

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