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by Annie Carlin on May 1, 2013

Health insurance costs are on the rise due to the cost associated with our lifestyles.  Activities like smoking, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, excessive alcohol use, lack of preventative screenings, patient non-compliance, inadequate sleep and poor stress management are very costly to manage as you age.   We increase our health care costs when we do not take care of ourselves.  This is negative cycle encourages a lack of responsibility for our health when in reality we are responsible for our own health.  Food is health care, while medicine is sick care.  Our lifestyles dictate the quality of our life.  For many being healthy isn’t attainable and find it difficult to manage healthy lifestyle choices.  A lot of big companies are offering incentives to encourage their employees to cultivate and maintain healthy habits.  Companies are encouraging their employees to take a comprehensive look at their lifestyles and they are asking them to be the change they want to see in their own lives regarding their health, most companies are rewarding them with incentives to maintain healthy habits.   On the other hand, some companies are attacking the situation with a punitive approach that goes as far as fining you for being overweight.

Our current system is unsustainable; everyone in the health insurance pool is subsidizing the health care costs for the unhealthy.  Lifestyle choices create habits and when you have unhealthy habits you are at a higher risk of becoming ill.  In the effort to curb rising health insurance costs many employers are initiating wellness programs for their employees.  $2.7 trillion is spent annually on health care costs, as a society if we can improve our health we can lower our health care costs.  In an effort to exercise fiscal prudence a lot of companies are expanding their wellness programs, in the effort to reduce their healthcare costs.  Employers are incentivizing their employees to make changes in their diet, exercise and stress management.  If we can cultivate healthy habits then we can drastically reduce the amount of money spent on health care cost.  Accord to AON Hewitt, health care cost per employee has gone up from $7,874 in 2007 to $11,188 in 2013 per employee.

Ultimately to lower healthcare costs we need to become healthier as a nation.  If we as a nation do not have the drive to do it for ourselves why do companies believe that we will for them? 



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