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Public Employees: What are your thoughts about employers and health insurers providing incentives for wellness behavior?

Comments: 39

I believe INCENTIVES are wonderful, as long as they really are incentives and not punishment. People need a reward every now and again; the idea of lowering premiums or returning some money if a person lives a healthy life is an excellent idea. Unfortunately, what results right now is that people who don't fit the mold have to pay more. We need to be careful about using body-mass indices; many of these rating systems are flawed because they do not take into account body differences.

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Miriam Ben-shalom
Local 212
Milwaukee, WI

I am a school nurse. I want all insurance companies and health care providers to offer reduced rates for non-smokers, regular exercisers,and people who maintain their health by following doctor's orders and taking medication as ordered. I would like school districts to offer discounts to community centers for the purpose of fitness.

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Paula Kershaw
Paula Kershaw
Flower Mound, TX

If providing incentives will help people to keep themselves healthy, I support this. Preventitive health care should be a part of everyone's life style.

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Mary Willmott
SVFT/4200 A
Meriden, CT

Both should provide incentives for wellness behavior so that people prevent instead of cure diseases such as high blood pressure, heart diseases and other illnesses related to obesity and sedentary life. Why should everybody else pay for the treatment of people who don’t take care of themselves?

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Carlos Amaya
Charleston, IL

Although it might be a slippery slope, it is worth it for smokers and those seriously overweight. They cost the system just too much money.

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Jeremy Tschudin
Hudson Teachers Association
Chatham, NY

I believe that employers could provide a real motivator for everyone and create a positive team approach within a school or organization in providing incentives for wellness behavior. Individuals could be recognized both finacially and within a school for attaining health goals. Everyone benefits from positive reinforcement.

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Cindy Mefford
Dow, IL

I think if incentives have any documented evidence that they work that we should do all we can to get people to eat well and exercise more. There are too many public employees with high blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions that can be helped by good health habits.

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Edwina Zagami
Chapel Hill, NC

As a professor in this subject area, these positive incentives were long overdue, and become cost effective for the system-at-large. That metaphorical ounce of Health Care prevention truly becomes worth more than the (British) pound (or US dollar !) of cure !

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Prof. P J GAMMARANO`
UFT
Brooklyn, NY

Wellness behavior should be an integral part of pre-service training for doctors, and it should be the foundation of the entire health care industry, outweighing the bottom-line interests of employers.

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robert dobek
uft
jericho, NY

I do not think that incentives for wellness behavior by employers and health insurers are a good idea because what happens to individuals that are overweight or participate in risky hobbies or sports? Will they be charged more in health insurance premiums because of the risk they take?

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Hugo Aparicio
AFT 2121
San Francisco, CA

Inexpensive prevention is so much better than expensive treatment. Simple life-style changes can make a huge difference in how much medication people need to take and how well they feel.

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Veronica Brown
UFT
Brooklyn, NY

Incentives for wellness behavior is being proactive and saves the employer and employee a great deal of money in the long-term. Educating people about ways they can stay fit and healthy overall could reduce debt. If more employers considered this approach and implemented measures for preventative healthcare we would have healthier communities over all and utilize resources more effectively.

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Qiana Williams
Syracuse Teachers Association
Syracuse, NY

I find behavioral incentives to be questionable. I have known smokers who rarely miss a day of work, and fitness aficionados who use all their sick days every year. With a behavioral incentive program, the smoker would get nothing while the fitness aficionado would get a reward - and that doesn't seem fair. Insurance coverage for wellness activities such as exercise class would be a better approach.

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Beth Doolittle
WDEA 3115
Locke, NY

It will be great , but first they should pay more attention to the coverage and price of the insurance because part time teachers are not able to pay $500 monthly for one member insurance.

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Ines Corrales
UTD
Hialeah, FL

Wellness such as vaccinations for everything should be covered. Psychiatric help should be covered. Chiropractors, accupuncture, exercise center and rehabilition, too.

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peter hatch
PVFT
Aptos, CA

Incentives for "wellness" behavior sounds like a WONDERFUL idea. Many insurance companies do not pay for even proven prevention activities, such as Diabetes Education. Payment for Smoking Cessation classes, and other programs which will help wellness will help all of us, as well as the long term costs of health care. HOWEVER, there is another side that needs to be examined. Incentives for "wellness" behaviors can become punishment for bahaviors defined as "non-wellness" behaviors. How can we know if someone's obesity is "their choice" or genetic. Persons with a history of strokes, or cancer could be "accused" "anti" wellness behavior.

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Susan A. Titus
Union of Part Time Faculty, Local 477
Detroit, MI

I think it's a great idea, especially if there is also a in-school program, maybe twice a week, to review eating and exercise habits, and providing opportunities to exercise. Perhaps some schools could provide healthful lunches for purchase at a reasonable price. This might save school districts thousands of dollars a year if health care providers give discounts to districts when employees use fewer or lesser amounts of the benefits.

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Maria DiBenedetto
PFT (Phila., PA)
Philadelphia, PA

It's great we have flexible spending to assist with health insurance for cancer or heart. I would like to add chiropractic, accupuncture, and body messages to be included in the health to lower and reduce stress and pain. Physical therapy is after the injury and the pain becomes unbearable and too late. It's great we also have commuter pretax savings to use public transit. There should be other alternatives like share rides or cars across the bay area bridges. Also be great to have three or so therapy sessions for employees to discuss emotional stress and harassment issues at the workplace.

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suzanne lo
aft 2121
san francisco, CA

I think offering incentives for people to adopt healthy habits is a good idea, however, I would think that the goal of good health should be enough incentive.

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David Rothenberg
PEF Retiree
Stony Brook, NY

I think that it is a great idea!!!

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Steve Schirmer
PEF
Baldwinsville , NY

To the extent that incentives encourage people to lead healthier lives, such incentives may well help reduce health care costs for our whole country.

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D Michael Byler
Faculty Federation of CCP
Philadelphia, PA

Incentives are fine, but also open the door to punitive actions as well for those who don't participate. Do we really want to open that door?

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Michael Schmitz
Owens Support Staff Union Local #6325
Waterville, OH

There should be a wellness benefit provided for employees. I would think healthier employees would benefit the employer and decrease cost to health insurers.

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Debra Scovill
AFT Utah Carbon
Price,, UT

This approach saves money as well as lives...

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Win Heimer
A&R Retiree Council Local 4200R
West Hartford, CT

I think the British and Swiss models are something we should consider-school faculties are superb opportunities to model healthy behaviors for communities.

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Denise Androvette
Syracuse Teacher Association
Syracuse, NY

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