Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009...9:26 AM

The Way Things SHOULD Work

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money_hundreds_franklin_238664_tnI find it ever frustrating how backwards we see things sometimes. I can deduct medical expenses on my taxes, but I can’t deduct the cost of my gym membership unless I meet very specific requirements. Last year when I was looking for life insurance, I was visited by a nurse who took blood and urine samples and wanted to know about my medical history but did not ask one question about my activity level or how well I eat. What gives? Today, I heard about a program that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas is offering to those who carry their insurance. It’s called Blue Points. You earn points for any multitude of activities that you complete such as:

  • Taking the Health Risk Assessment
  • Setting up a meal or fitness plan
  • Asking a question of a registered/licensed nurse, life coach, trainer or dietitian
  • Enrolling in an online smoking cessation or weight loss program
  • Reading and rating a recipe or article

You then use the points to purchase rewards (up to $600 worth). What a novel concept! Paying people to make healthy choices! We could use more of this kind of thinking everywhere. Is Blue Cross doing this in part to lower their costs? Sure. Do I care? No. Because if this program motivates you to go for a walk or keep a food log that you would normally not do, then all I care about is that you are one step closer to adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Bravo, Blue Cross! Let me know if you know of other insurance or company programs providing the same incentives. If you have BCBS insurance, see if you can participate in the program in your state or with your company. Let me know what you find out!!!

About the Author:

Chris Heidel is the owner and primary personal trainer with Libra Fitness in Austin, TX, a private, in-home studio. Chris focuses her business on developing mentoring relationships with her clients built on trust and meaningful support to help them set, achieve, and maintain realistic fitness goals. Chris truly believes that while getting in shape isn’t easy, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Chris is certified through the American Council on Exercise.



  • I just took my HRA yesterday! My agency will give me 8 hours of vacation time if I complete it and get a physical. My physical is scheduled for next week. Yay for free time off!

  • Nice!

  • I checked; IBM is still offering the fitness rebate, as well as a stop-smoking rebate.

  • There have been studies, and these rebates are very profitable for the organizations that use them. They save something like $7 in health insurance costs for every $1 they spend bribing people to exercise. It blows my mind that people want $300 more than they want better health, but I guess you have to go with what works.

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