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July 13, 2006
HMO Offers Rewards for Adopting Healthy Lifestyles

An HMO in Michigan has launched a product that rewards people with lower co-payments and deductibles if they adopt a healthy lifestyle.

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Blue Care Network of Michigan, the HMO affiliate of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, says its Healthy Blue Living program encourages employees and their spouses to live health lifestyles with incentives like lower co-payments and deductibles. The program will be available in October. The HMO says employers who enroll in the plan can save an average of 10 percent in premiums.

The program has two benefit levels: standard and enhanced. All employees initially receive the enhanced benefit package. To qualify to stay in the enhanced package, which offers lower copayments and deductibles, the employee and his or her spouse must do the following during the first 90 days of coverage:

  • Commit to healthy lifestyles.
  • Complete a health risk appraisal during the first 90 days of coverage. The appraisal provides a comprehensive picture of a member's current health and health risks and gives suggestions for minimizing those risks.
  • Complete a member qualification form. After completing the health risk appraisals, the employee and spouse each fill out a member qualification form with their respective primary care physician. Points are given for favorable results or behaviors in six categories: alcohol use, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, smoking status and weight. A point total of 80 or more qualifies a person for the enhanced benefit level.

Employers will be required to offer a smoke-free work environment in order to purchase the product. The program will also encourage employers to promote physical activity at work and to offer healthy food choices in vending machines and cafeterias.

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