Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Focusing on prevention

My nephew drew me this picture for my birthday -- it's a defibrillator.  I'm doing my best not to need a real one!
My insurance company introduced a new benefit this year -- they offered a $50 gift card to clients who filled out a health risk assessment. The assessment, we were told, was to market wellness initiatives targeted to our individual needs. I know a few people did not fill it out for that reason -- they didn't want to be contacted by the insurance company about these initiatives.

I am in no position to turn down a free $50, so I filled it out. When I was doing so, I didn't learn anything new about my health risks -- I already knew my BMI, I already knew I wanted to lose weight, and I already knew most of my other health risks were low. My cholesterol numbers have always been excellent, and the last time I had my blood sugar checked (using an A1C test), it ran toward the low end of normal. It did remind me, though, that I am due for a physical to get those numbers rechecked.

Taking the assessment also reminded me about the partial reimbursement for Weight Watchers offered by my company. I was able to buy monthly passes through them at a lower rate, and then, if I go to four months of meetings and fill out some paperwork, I can get $75 back.  That was actually what pushed me that extra step to sign up.

I know some people might resent the intrusion into their personal choices, but for me, these little incentives pushed me to do things I wanted to do anyway.  And for the insurance company, it's a genius move. If $150 in incentives causes even a small percentage of their clients to lose weight, and if that weight was a risk factor for even a small percentage of them, just think how much they will save in costs of managing weight-related diseases like heart disease and diabetes. They also offer things like smoking cessation programs, which would save them even more.

Does your insurance company cover these kinds of preventative services? Do you take advantage of them?


  1. Story behind the defibrillator drawing, not your average thing to sketch - ?

    1. My nephew just finished kindergarten and he is obsessed with "rescue heroes": Firefighters, police, EMTs. Most of his drawings are of vehicles and gear, and he spends a lot of time learning how to get each thing right. He had just figured out how to draw the defibrillator and wanted to send it to me for my birthday. He had no idea why his mommy (my younger sister) thought it was hilarious and didn't get the joke that it could be a commentary on my age. He was just proud of it because it was a good drawing. My nephews are my only real contacts with kids that age, so I don't know if this is unusual, though there sure are a lot of toys available with the rescue theme.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07