Dieting for dollars

14 September 2011
Rebecca Ellinor, managing editor, Supply ManagementThinking of losing a bit of weight? Want to earn some cash for it? That sentence may sound ludicrous, but it’s the reality for some employees in the US who have been paid to shed pounds. One woman was paid more than $1,000 after losing more than 100 pounds in nine-months ahead of her wedding, and $100,000 has been paid out to date to some of the ‘biggest losers’.
 According to HealthyWage, which is leading the way, it is part of an “escalating movement toward incentive-based healthcare”. And corporate America is embracing ideas that help promote a healthy workforce and the economy at large by reducing obesity-related costs. The nation’s recent health legislation, the Affordable Care Act (Section 2705), stipulates that, starting in 2014, employers can use measures such as BMI to adjust health insurance premiums “based on outcome-based wellness incentives by up to 30 per cent - up from the current 20 per cent level”. And apparently Arizona recently proposed charging obese residents on Medicaid $50 as a financial penalty for being overweight. This proposition is currently under review, with other states considering similar moves.
 
A healthier body and a fatter bank account has got to be appealing to most individuals – but would your organisation go for such strategy?
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