Health Insurance and Wellness Programs
Health insurance is a product that most adults in the United States are familiar with. In fact, most adults have some form of health insurance. Those that don’t currently have health insurance will soon be required by the Affordable Care Act to have health insurance.
One component of the Affordable Care Act is the elimination of per-existing conditions. While this is great for the consumer it can be really bad news for insurance companies and will increase the cost of health insurance. Proponents of the Affordable Care Act say that many of the 46 million people currently uninsured are healthy and that by adding them to the system you can bring down the cost of health care. Unfortunately there’s no evidence to support their claims.
So, what’s an insurance company to do? The most obvious thing is to have strong wellness programs and meaningful incentives for participating in those programs. By offering the right wellness programs and getting people to participate you can improve the health of your members and bring down claim costs.
Insurance Companies and Health Coaching
Health coaching and disease management services are common among insurance companies. Unfortunately many do not use them as effectively as they could. This is because many take a clinical approach versus a behavioral approach to health coaching. The difference is this. The clinical approach tends to come from a “finger wagging” approach – you need to stop smoking, you need to lose weight, etc. The behavioral approach we prefer works like this.
Done correctly the person being coached always feels like it’s their idea to change their behavior – to stop smoking, lose weight, etc. It’s a subtle difference that has a huge impact on the effectiveness of a program. If a person feels like it’s their idea then they are more committed to the program and the success rate is far higher. The clinical approach simply doesn’t work – if it did then everyone would change their behavior when their doctor told them to. Instead most people just continue their same bad behaviors until THEY decide to change.