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

Comments: 39

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

Absolutely a spot-on idea, but one that labor unions need to be dragged to accept, kicking and screaming, because innovative ideas to lower costs and increase efficiency R-NOT-US. I have proposed just such ideas in the past for endorsement by my union (the Public Employees Federation) as convention resolutions and, as one might cynically expect, those ideas were shot down without so much as the dignity of a debate on the merits of the ideas. When union members wonder where the "squeeze" comes from that now compromises their salaries and benefits, they may need to look no further than the failure of their own imaginations.

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James Close
Public Employees Federation
Mechanicville, NY

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

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

I agree with the concept. Employers and insurers need to work together to make sure, though, that we're getting the best beneift for the dollars spent. I also believe there needs to be an insurance premium surcharge for everyone who smokes, or is overweight (or under), or has other controllable health risk factors. Bike commuting should merit a premium rebate!

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Jeffrey Schimpff
Wisconsin Science Professionals
Madison, WI

I think that it is a great idea!!!

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Steve Schirmer
PEF
Baldwinsville , NY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

To the extent that wellness behavior impacts one's work or medical expenses, employers and health insurers have good reason to encourage certain personal decisions and discourage others. Regarding work, employers could reasonably encourage fitness activities. Concerning health insurance, companies could incentivise healthy choices, such as weight loss programs.

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Paul Stack
EITA
Rochester, NY

I think it is great. It motivates us to take care of ourselves. It's a win-win for all concerned--kids get healthier teachers and I am all for giving educators more money. We are one of the more under-valued professions.

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Fern Michel
AFT - Alief
missouri city,, TX

I think it's one of the most sensible ideas I've heard in a long time! People don't like to be sick. Insurance companies don't like to pay medical bills. Wellness bills are probably a lot cheaper than medical bills. It's a win-win situation for all sides.

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Jeanne Sullivan
Chicago Teacher's Union
Brookfield, IL

They should provide incentives.We have done it in our insurance trust. We need to take ownership of our healthcare. People have treated their health insurance card like a credit care. They have no idea of the cost of healthcare. We need to educate ourselves and be an informed consumer of our healthcare. We need to change our behavior through education. We need to shop around for procedures and compare costs. Dr.'s and hospitals need to advertise costs. We don't need the government to inforce this. We need to do this ourselves and demand the healthcare industry to do the same. Incentatives are only part of what needs to be done.

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Gayle Green
Local 1395
Valparaiso, IN

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

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

Hello, This a no-brainer. Providing incentives is the way to go. After all, auto insurance companies give premium discounts to safe drivers. This a great way to reward those who try to take good care of themselves. Rudy Bartolozzi

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Rudy Bartolozzi
571
Buffalo Grove, IL

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