We may have heard it all now, with news that an American life insurance policy provider is rewarding policyholders for adopting a healthy eating lifestyle. Or put another way, paying them to eat fruit and veg. John Hancock Insurance announced its policyholder-incentivizing proposals this week and which is seen as a first amongst this sector in the US.
The company’s brand new ‘Vitality Healthy Food’ initiative will award policyholders with what they describe as ‘real time discounts’ and/or cash-back of up to $600 annually to cover grocery bills. And that’s in addition to policyholders being able to bag program points which over time will be translated into financial savings on their life insurance premiums by as much as 15%.
Other rewards will also be forthcoming for policyholders signing up to existing John Hancock policy (of which this healthy eating scheme is an extension of), providing those insured parties prove they are exercising regularly, completing annual health screenings and getting their flu jabs as the winter approaches. The only grey area as far as critics are concerned is the lack of advice as to just what constitutes a healthy and balanced diet in the eyes of the insurance policy provider.
Not to labour the point, observers have noted that the insurer neglects to outline just what types of foodstuffs it will be actively encouraging policyholders to eat going forward, whilst highlighting details of how the plan will effectively work are also a bit sketchy according to www.freshplaza.com which first broke the story.
More Detailed Customer Data Collation Also By-product of Healthy-Eating-Cheaper-Life-Insurance Agenda
Having said that, the insurer does emphasise that it plans to grant policyholders access to relevant guidance and associated resources provided by its collaborator on this initiative, namely the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy based at Tufts University which is located in Medford, Massachusetts.
Despite being broadly championed for assuming this health-conscious stance, there are detractors to the scheme who argue that is it ethically right that an insurance company attempts to dictate what policyholder’s consume and coerce them into changing their diet by tempting them with money-saving incentives. The flip side being perceivably punishing them should they choose to not modify their eating habits.
Of course, this isn’t the first time policyholders have been dangled carrots to revise their lifestyle choices, as previously a South African-based insurer recorded certain levels of success by adopting a similar policy; whilst another American health insurance provider has been helping customers restructure aspects of their lives in return for discounts and gym membership privileges. From this life insurance company’s viewpoint the data generated as a result will paint a clearer picture about policyholder’s habits, which is something they’ve been gaining ahead of the launch of this scheme by affording some customers the option to monitor their physical activity courtesy of Fitbits.