January 5, 2016

Day 5: Does It Pay to Be Healthy?

400 dollarsOur health journey began in large part in 2010 because someone offered to pay us $400. I had just changed employers and our new health insurance company, Deseret Mutual, had a healthy living program where Heather and I could EACH earn $200. In exchange, all we had to do was participate in (6) 2-month health challenges, get an annual physical with our blood work, and fill out a health survey. $400? Yeah, sign us up. 

Well the first challenge was to only eat dessert once a week. Piece of cake, right? Not exactly. It’s not until you start tracking something that you realize how often you do something. I found out that I must have been eating dessert and candy everyday, multiple times per day, because that was how often I found myself having to turn down treats. And Heather’s experience was just as hard. We started living for the weekends, or whatever our planned sugar day was. They never seemed to come fast enough. It was a VERY long 8 weeks. But you know what? We survived.

The other 2-month long challenges throughout the year had to do with being active 20 minutes for 4 days per week, getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night, drinking 8 cups of water, consciously trying to control our thoughts and stress, and eating two vegetables per day. It was honestly quite challenging to find out how hard it was to do these basic things that we know we should all be doing. The good part was that we only had to complete each challenge 80% of the days to earn our incentive and it was on an honor system. So it was just us and our consciences to decide if we were really going to embrace these challenges. 

 At the end of the year we had earned our $400! We decided that we wanted to spend it on something to make our health better. So Heather let me use the money to buy my first road cycling bike. The next year, we completed our challenges again and she got the $400 to purchase a super nice juicer. In 2014 I used the money to upgrade my road bike again. In 2015 Heather gave our pantry contents a make-over. And when our check arrives this month I’m going to use it to renew our family gym membership where we’ve been swimming all winter.

It’s so wise of health insurance companies to offer healthy living programs, since all they need to do is save a family three visits to the doctor and they have covered their costs. And long-term if they can help us avoid a preventable disease then they are tens of thousands of dollars ahead. Does it pay to be healthy? Absolutely! For myself, my family, my company, my insurance company, and ultimately for the whole country and the world at large. Our healthy choices can remove a financial burden and free up all that money to be used for better causes.


Your turn. We’d love to hear: What kind of healthy living program does your company offer? What do you use the money for? And if your employer doesn’t offer a program, what do you think about paying yourself an incentive out of your tax return?  

#MoreFoodLessCrap #HealthCare #NewYear @MorFoodLessCrap



Scott

7 comments:

  1. Being self employed I need to look into this.
    I'll probably have to talk to my... accountant.
    The last company I worked for had kind of a lame-o program where you just filled out a survey every month, on your honor, rating yourself 1-10 on certain behaviors and lifestyle choices. $ was given based on your score.
    I love the challenges and that it is over the course of a couple months so you can really start to notice the positive impact.

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    1. Brandon, talk to your boss and see if she can free up some of the tax return money as an incentive if you can reach some goals in the next few months. :) We are trying to encourage everyone to follow the 30 day challenge with us. Just keep coming back and learning more and implement the things that make sense for your life right now. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  2. i need your blog! I think I'm in denial because I'm not the primary sugar consumer in our home and feel like I make more of an effort than anyone else here. Today I hid a massive stack of treats from the those that if they see them, will eat them. Reading this, I stood up and took my vitamins, which I have skipped for 2 weeks. I'm going to talk to the other half and set a goal with rewards like you suggested.

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    1. Sarah, we are glad that we can help in some way. We know what you mean about the candy hiding. We had to throw away 10 lbs of candy that was left over from Christmas. Sometimes if you don't get it out of the house, then somebody finds it and have themselves a secret little treasure booty that will only be discovered months later as wrappers. We know from experience. :)

      It's all baby steps. We are building slowly and we are all learning as we go. You just recommit yourself each morning and take it a day at a time. Eventually your good example will start influencing your family, friends, and neighbors. Hang in there, you got this.

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  3. Our health incentive $1000.00. $500.00 for Chad and $500 for me. All it requires is that we have an annual physical get our blood drawn and enter in our numbers and it then sets up a roadmap to health for you. It is great! I wish I could say we put the money towards good healthy things but we usually put it toward paying off debt.

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    1. That is amazing! I'm so glad your insurance company does that! We totally believe that paying off debt it healthy! As long as you are not just paying off the annual Christmas debt. Just keep finding joy in the journey. Thanks for following our posts and we hope some things are resonating with you and motivating you. Take care.

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  4. I wish our health insurance did this. I think specific tasks and goals are a great idea. I'm going to try to do this for 2016. Thanks for telling me about it!

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