Thursday, June 26, 2008

More Employers Give Healthy Living Gift Cards

“Increasing numbers of the nation's largest employers are offering gift cards and other incentives to encourage workers to slim down and quit smoking, a survey found. More than three-quarters of big U.S. employers offer formal health and wellness programs, while more than half have disease management programs amid rising health-care costs. The use of incentives with health and wellness programs increased, while the use of incentives with disease management programs declined, according to a survey conducted by Health2 Resources and paid for by IncentOne, a provider of incentive solutions for employers. The results were culled from 225 major U.S. employers who are members of the National Association of Manufacturers or the ERISA Industry Council. The value of incentives is typically $100 to $300 per person, per year, the survey said. Incentives were paid out in gift cards, cash bonuses and premium reductions and were used to help ‘shape healthy behavior,’ Katherine Capps, author of the study, said in a telephone interview. Gift cards became the top incentive choices in 2008, with usage rising to 28 percent from 17 percent in 2007, while the use of cash bonuses and lower premiums declined during that period.”

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