Columbus, OH – A recent study published in the journal Health Affairs found that insurance premium-based financial incentives failed to help people lose weight.
The study tracked 197 obese employees of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, who were asked to lose 5% of their weight over the course of a year. The control group was offered no financial incentive, while the rest of the participants were offered $550 off of their insurance costs. By the end of the year, those who were offered a financial incentive saw no statistical difference in weight loss from the control group who gained a tenth of a pound.
While this study was specific to insurance premium-based incentives, the lesson to be learned for other incentive-based healthcare experiences is that regular motivation is routinely more successful than one big reward at the finish line. Finding ways to provide constant feedback, encouragement, and mini-rewards throughout an experience will go a long way towards better outcomes.
Link to full study: http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/35/1/71.abstract