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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: May 4, 2010
Money Talks: Health Assessments Work With Right Incentives, Study Reports

Nothing more complicated than filling out a health assessment form is proving to influence positive health behaviors. That’s the conclusion of two Harvard professors’ research.

While completing a health assessment may have some influence on healthy behaviors, the potential to affect behavior may be greater if there is a financial incentive for completing the assessment, if the assessment is directly linked to health coaching or disease management programs, or if financial incentives are provided for achieving risk reductions, the researchers found.

Haiden Huskamp and Meredith Rosenthal of Harvard examined data from CIGNA for the period fromJanuary 2004 through June 2006 to draw their conclusions.

The research "points the way forward for employers and health plans as they take steps to increase the impact and effectiveness of workplace health and wellness programs," said Dr. David Ferris, national medical director for clinical program development at CIGNA.

In 2008 CIGNA began using a new health assessment developed by the University of Michigan Health Management Research Center. After competition, the assessed are linked to online health coaching for nutrition, sleep, stress and physical activity. Individuals are immediately offered coaching if analysis of their health assessment indicates coaching may benefit them.

Individuals can also access health coaching over the phone if their employer chooses this service as part of its benefits plan.

A report on the research results was published in Health Affairs magazine.

For more information on CIGNA, visit

  This article was taken from:
The Executive Report on Managed Care

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