We recently looked at some employer cash and gift rewards for healthy behaviors such as biking to work and giving up smoking. At some companies, rewards come in the form of reduced health insurance costs.
A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 1% of firms offered employees a smaller deductible as an incentive and 4% offered a break on premiums. Workers looking at high-deductible plans may want to see if insurers offer rebates for healthy assessments or improvements.
Two years ago, United Healthcare introduced an option for employers called Vital Measures. Employees of firms that contract for this option select a high-deductible medical plan and can get a voluntary screening to see if they meet benchmarks for such things as body mass index, cholesterol, and blood pressure. For each benchmark met, employees receive $500 off their deductibles, according to company spokeswoman Cheryl Randolph. Meet all four, and the deductible for a healthy single employee can be lowered to $500, down from $2,500, and for a family of four to a deductible of $1,000, down from $5,000.
Although many insurers offer rewards programs, companies have to opt in and often pay extra for the program. So don't be surprised if you hear that an insurer offers, say, airline miles to some members but that you're not eligible.