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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Weight Loss and Health Care Reform: FAQ

How has health care reform affected wellness programs?

Many businesses offer programs to encourage people to adopt healthy habits, like losing weight or quitting smoking.

Some work wellness programs reward you for participating. Once you sign up, you might get money back for joining a gym or a weight loss program. Others offer rewards based on you meeting specific goals. You might get a financial reward, such as lower insurance costs, for stopping smoking or reaching a certain weight or blood pressure level.

The Affordable Care Act increases the amount of money that wellness programs can use to reward you for meeting specific goals. You could get up to a 30% discount on your health plan for meeting the goals of your wellness program, and up to 50% if you smoke and make progress toward quitting.

The rewards can be good incentives. However, some experts worry that they could wind up penalizing people who can’t meet their goals.

How does helping people control their weight affect heath care costs?

If you're overweight or obese, you know that losing some weight would be good for your health.

Insurance companies feel the same way. Helping people lose weight now could prevent a lot of health problems and high health care costs later.

Obesity costs employers, too. Studies have linked obesity with lower productivity and more accidents. For many reasons, employers, health plans, and the government are trying different ways to help people lose weight.

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