Health Insurance Companies should link financial rewards to healthy and cost saving behavior of their members via mHealth apps


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“HICs are best positioned to link financial rewards via incentive schemes to healthy and cost saving behavior of their members. However, only several of the top HICs and start-ups are currently integrating these incentive schemes.”

This is just one of the findings from our Health Insurance App Benchmarking 2015 report.

The structure of mHealth app based incentive schemes can be divided into 4 elements.

  • The category of goals that the users can target with their app
  • The flexibility with which the users can set the parameters values for their goals
  • The methods of tracking and measuring goal achievements
  • The kind of rewards users will get for achieved goals

App Based Incentive Schemes

Goal type: Currently HICs incorporate a several goal types within their mHealth app that typically range from health/fitness & wellness, nutritional and food monitoring goals to adherence and compliance goals. Typically health/fitness & wellness goals require the user to increase their activity , endurance and performance levels and adopt to adopt a diversity of activities. Nutritional and food goals encourage the user to monitor their nutrition and diet, paying better attention to food contents, what they eat and how much. Adherence and compliance goals are typically targeted at those who need to manage a health condition such as diabetes etc.

Goal setting: Today apps allow goal setting in two different ways. Firstly, users can set their own goals selecting from a variety of adjustable health, fitness and wellness activities. These activities range from traditional activities such as Yoga, running, swimming; to non-traditional activities such as gardening, commuting to work and shopping. Secondly, goals can be set by the health insurance provider/mHealth app. These kind of goals might change over the time according to the progress the user makes (dynamic goals) or remain always at the same level (static goals).

Goal measurement: Whether or not a goal has been reached is typically measured with the help of sensors, third party apps or social community feedback. Sensors and apps allow users to measure their activities. Other methods include GPS location based check-in. Food intake can be measured using the feedback of integrated peer communities. Current measurement methods are neither accurate nor do they prevent users from cheating. Thus HICs must build their offers around trust and find the right level of financial rewards. However there is no doubt that implanted sensors, fingerprint and eye scan technologies will broaden the options mHealth app developers have to prevent fraud and to increase accuracy of measurements that will allow increasing of financial rewards.

Connected: Currently very few HICs have linked incentive schemes to users’ health plans. However, those that do typically offer users either financial incentives i.e. money off their cash deductibles, lower monthly tariffs and third party products such as wellness trips and gym memberships etc. By leveraging their unique position of being able to link financial incentives directly to their members cost saving behavior, HICs can look towards a much brighter future within the mHealth economy.

Whilst the majority of HICs are yet to spot the potential of reward based incentives and financial incentives in particular, there is a small number of HICs that have. For a more detailed understanding and expose of those HICs that are using incentive based reward schemes and how they are incorporating them into their customers health plans check out our Health Insurance App Benchmarking 2015 report.

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