News Headlines Article

Paying People to Be Healthy Usually Works, if the Public Can Stomach It
The New York Times

Few people seem comfortable with the idea of paying patients to do what we want them to do.

That’s unfortunate, because there’s a significant amount of research that says this works.

I’m not talking about things like wellness programs, which offer reductions in insurance premiums if you do what your employer wants. Those are really a means of cost-sharing in which expenses are shifted onto people who are less healthy. I’m talking about paying incentives directly to people in exchange for changes to their behavior or health.

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine compared various programs that encourage people to quit smoking. The interventions were altered with subtle changes to see what types of programs might achieve better results. In the most successful one, people earned large monetary rewards — with a catch.