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August 2018  Volume 16, Number 8        

Gamification Comes to Health Care

Playing games is fun — but sometimes it can also be good for your health and bottom line.

Companies design wellness programs to improve employees' health by encouraging them to engage in exercises, educational seminars and health screenings. Successful programs also lower employers' health care costs.

Too often, though, these programs are boring, complex or off-putting. To combat this issue, more and more insurance companies are turning to "gamification" as a way to entice members to adopt healthy habits. Gamification applies the motivational techniques of games to online training.

For example, employees who log into a wellness program from their Smartphones or computers are encouraged to keep track of steps and walk more if they know they can earn money towards health care reimbursement.

Why it Works

A number of factors go into designing a successful gamification program:

  • By giving users a chance to "move up" in a game, gaming gives users a sense of accomplishment. Keeping a doctor's appointment, walking more or adopting better lifestyle habits can help employees feel better about themselves while progressing in the "game."
  • When the gaming feature is combined with incentives, employees have a reason to come back to the wellness program. Rewards can be daily raffles, point redemptions, prizes and gift cards. Time off is the most popular reward.
  • Financial incentives to participate often are not enough to attract participants. Some wellness programs impose penalties for activities such as smoking and then offer rewards for quitting.
  • It's important the wellness program incorporate tiers and levels that must be reached. For instance, a fitness counter could track progress, buzz if the wearer is inactive and offer trophies and rewards.
  • Participants in these programs enjoy immediate feedback and the knowledge that they are getting closer to their goal.

Give us a buzz if you want more information on how gamification could possibly be incorporated into your health plans.

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In this issue:

This Just In ... What's Considered Medically Appropriate for Insurance To Be Expanded

Most Employees Don't Feel Financially Prepared for Retirement

How to Plan for Life's What-Ifs — with Long-Term Disability Insurance

Are Indemnity Health Insurance Plans Right for Your Company?

Gamification Comes to Health Care



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