Health plans cut fit workers' deductibles

July 11, 2007 at 10:06 AM
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MINNEAPOLIS, July 11 (UPI) -- New U.S. healthcare plans lower fit workers' deductibles while keeping deductibles high for overweight people with high cholesterol and blood pressure.

"We're going to reward individuals for health results, not just actions," UnitedHealthcare Senior Vice President Tom Beauregard told USA Today.

The carrier began offering the new policies to midsize employers in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Colorado this month and may launch them nationwide next year.

The move is seen as the latest in a growing employer effort to have workers pay more toward healthcare costs and take more responsibility for their own health, the newspaper said.

Workers can lower their deductibles if annual blood tests and other evaluations show they meet target goals for blood pressure, cholesterol and height/weight ratio, UnitedHealth said.

A $2,500 individual deductible would drop to $500 for a worker who meets all target goals.

"This is a clear attempt to both respond to healthy employees who don't want to pay the freight for their sick workmates, while at the same time providing incentives for those who are less healthy to do the right thing," Pacific Business Group on Health Chief Executive Officer Peter Lee said.

Consumer advocate Jamie Court of the Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights expressed concern healthcare was becoming "a police state."

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