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Wellness incentive: Best of health reform

July 22, 2011 at 11:16 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 22 (UPI) -- U.S. employers find the increase in a wellness incentive the most beneficial element of healthcare reform law, a Lockton survey indicates.

Thirty-seven percent of responding Lockton Benefit Group clients say the increase in employee wellness incentives is the most beneficial element of the healthcare reform law.

Dr. Ian Chuang, Lockton medical director and member of the Health Reform Advisory Practice, says in 2014 employers will be able to offer an incentive of as much as 30 percent of an employee's total healthcare premium, if the employee is doing everything asked to improve his or her health and reduce medical costs -- an increase from the 20 percent incentive currently permitted.

"We know that our employer-clients like the opportunity to reward employees that make healthy lifestyle choices," Chuang says in a statement. "The difference in cost for health insurance for an employee with this incentive can be thousands of dollars annually, depending on the total premium cost. So for the employer, this is a true benefit of the health reform law."

Savvy employers realize they will ultimately reduce their health insurance costs by addressing the risks leading to illnesses and claims, which will also improve employee productivity, Chuang says.

Lockton provides more than 15,000 clients worldwide with insurance, benefits and risk management services.

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