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Friday, March 29, 2013

Cash back on healthy foods?

     Lifestyle choices often are major causes of illness and health care cost for employers.  Health insurers have been trying to encourage people they insure to adopt healthy lifestyles by providing financial incentives.  Usually these involve trying to get their insured to join a gym or enrolling in a weight loss program.
     Recently some employers have tried other more punitive methods to lower their health care costs.  Some hospitals will not hire anyone who smokes. CVS pharmacies have created controversy by requiring their employees to enroll in a program that measures their height, weight and blood assessments or pay $50 a month more for their health insurance.  Mayor Bloomberg in New York has taken heat by trying to restrict the size of sugary drinks and requiring restaurants to eliminate trans fats in cooking.
      The approach that caught my attention recently was a partnership between HumanaVitality insurance company and Wal Mart that provides 5% cash back for HumanVitality members who buy certain healthy foods like fruits and vegetables at Wal Mart grocery stores. Having been in some Wal Mart grocery sections I am not sure they are the best store for healthy eating choices.  This American effort comes after studies of cash back programs in South Africa that show that even small incentives can get people to eat healthier foods.
      This got me to thinking that it might be a great promotion for the Whole Foods store (or Wegmans) to partner with some local employers to offer a cash back plan when they open their store in Town Center next year.  Wellness programs, grocery store incentives for eating healthy foods and health insurers partnerships seem like such a win-win propositions.


1 comment:

Cashback said...

Smart move to attract the customers, your way of thinking inspires me a lot.