Recently a team of researchers from Harvard Medical School looked at health data on 140,000 health care professionals with a particular focus on cancer-related deaths. Their observation was that as much as 40 percent of America’s cancer diagnoses are due to bad habits and that almost half of cancer-related deaths are linked to bad habits, particularly smoking and poor nutrition.
Although that information was not particularly surprising, looking more closely at healthy and unhealthy classifications was. Individuals classified as healthy were non-smokers, who did not report excessive drinking, who had moderate body mass indexes (between 18.5 and 27.5) and who met very reasonable exercise standards. Those who did not were considered unhealthy.
I would like to think that most of us would easily fit into the “healthy” classification and yet only about 20 percent of this group met that standard. Even worse, the surveyed population of medical professionals is generally more healthy than the general population!
So, if we are in the healthy population, where is our reward for taking good care of ourselves? I have written more than once about the financial benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Money saved on medical expenses can be spent on a lot of nice “stuff” now and in the future. Also, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce our chance of contracting a new cancer by 20-40 percent.
The more immediate reward could possibly be found in the wellness rewards available through our health insurance plans. With very limited effort on our parts we can earn points for things like movie tickets, Fitbits and other consumer rewards. One of our major carriers actually offers a 10-30 percent reduction in monthly premium for each employee who reaches pre-set levels of participation. At current rates, that can be a significant carrot for those of us who have not pursued corporate wellness.
So what do we do?
- Check in with our HR department or insurance carrier if we are not on an employer plan to see if a wellness plan is available and for program details.
- Do the required online enrollment and read all materials to determine the fastest way to register for the wellness program.
- Follow up with any additional requirements like biometric screening or scanning in verification of wellness visits, etc.
- Look for our rewards and work on getting to the next higher level of benefit.
Immediate gratification along with long term financial savings through better health are a win-win for all of us, wouldn’t you agree? We at CDA Inc. are committed to pursuing healthy lifestyles and for helping you reap the benefits of making healthy choices. Contact us if you need more assistance in pursuing corporate wellness plans.