Getting Healthier Is the First Step Toward a Better Life
You can save money on health insurance by being healthier. It’s true! There are a couple of different reasons why.
When you invest in your health by eating better foods, exercising regularly, keeping your weight down, and avoiding smoking and excessive drinking, you decrease your likelihood of preventable illness and disease. You’ll build a stronger immune system that’s better able to fight off colds, flus, and other sicknesses, and can minimize your risk of chronic aches and pains. The less you’re sick, the less you need to see a doctor. And the fewer times you see a doctor, the fewer times you’ll dip into your insurance deductible and the fewer copays you’ll have to front out-of-pocket. That’s money saved!
But it’s more than that.
Many companies will actually lower how much an employee has to pay for health insurance if they demonstrate they’re in good health and maintain healthy habits. These are commonly referred to as incentive-based wellness programs. Your company could offer one!
Why do companies do this? Healthy employees cost employers less money. Every time you go to the doctor’s office and make that co-payment, your employer has paid even more to provide for the insurance that makes that co-payment manageable. The less employees need to use their insurance, the more employers can save.
Additionally, insurance companies can charge individuals with poor health habits higher premiums from the get-go (these costs, in turn, trickle down to the employer). For example, health insurance companies can charge smokers more money for the same insurance plan as non-smokers; sometimes up to 50% more.
To incentivize more people to develop healthy habits and stay in good health, employers can decrease the cost of insurance premiums for those who are healthy. Employers and their partner insurance companies will have different employee qualification requirements, but typically it involves submitting a recent physical from a physician that provides basic health information like bloodwork and weight.
In addition to submitting statements of wellness, companies may offer other qualifying events that let employees save money on health insurance. For example, an employee that smokes might be able to lower their premium if they take a smoking cessation class online. Or, an employer might give discounts to those who show they workout in a fitness class multiple times a week.
While these sort of programs are more commonly found in companies that have at least 200 employees, many companies are taking strides to make the office environment itself more conducive to healthy habits. Onsite gyms, replacing soda machines with bottled water, and standing desks are just a few of the ways companies promote health and wellness.
Even if your company doesn’t participate in an incentive program, you may still be able to get preferred rates through your insurance company by demonstrating health and wellness. It never hurts to reach out to them and ask!
Interested in learning more about health insurance and tips for saving money? Be sure to explore our blog. The experts at Schechner Lifson Corporation are always on your side.