insurance

How Using a Fitness Band Can Save You Money

Using a fitness band to monitor your activity could cut insurance costs.

Earning a discount on your health or life insurance premiums may soon be as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. Some employers are handing out or subsidizing the cost of fitness bands and rewarding employees who meet goals for activity—such as averaging 10,000 steps a day—with insurance discounts, gift cards and other prizes.

The programs promise to benefit everyone. Employees walk their way to better health. Employers get active, more productive workers and may see lower health care costs. Insurers get healthier policyholders who make fewer claims. “Incentives line up so nicely for employees, employers and insurance companies that I can’t see this trend slowing down,” says Dan Ledger, a consultant with Endeavour Partners.

Details vary, but most programs encourage participants to average a certain number of steps per day and usually require them to requalify each year. At Houston Methodist hospital, employees earn entries for prize drawings and are eligible to receive up to $520 off their 2016 health insurance premiums. “This program has helped motivate me,” says Vivian Robinson, who coordinates grants for the hospital and aims to take 10,000 steps a day.

Insurers are also getting in on the act. John Hancock has begun a program that rewards eligible policyholders with up to 15% off their life insurance premiums based on the number of steps they take and other healthy behaviors, such as getting an annual flu shot.

Many fitness bands also collect data such as your heart rate and sleep patterns. Before enrolling in a program, ask what type of data is collected and if you’re able to, say, report your step count but not your sleep habits.

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
25 Best Kirkland Products You Should Buy at Costco
Smart Buying

25 Best Kirkland Products You Should Buy at Costco

Many of warehouse club Costco's store-branded Kirkland Signature items get high marks for quality and value. Check out our picks.
July 21, 2021
Warning: You May Have to Pay Back Your Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments
Tax Breaks

Warning: You May Have to Pay Back Your Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments

Unlike stimulus checks, you might have to repay your monthly child tax credit payments if you get too much money from the IRS.
July 16, 2021

Recommended

How Patients with Lasting Symptoms of COVID Can Apply for Disability
Financial Planning

How Patients with Lasting Symptoms of COVID Can Apply for Disability

Those who can no longer work because of COVID-19 may qualify for these benefits but the approval process can be a difficult road.
July 30, 2021
Exercise Saves Seniors Money on Health Care
Healthy Living on a Budget

Exercise Saves Seniors Money on Health Care

Adults who increase their physical activity pay hundreds less per year for health care, a new study shows.
July 29, 2021
When It’s Time to Drop Your Parents’ Health Insurance.
Starting Out: New Grads and Young Professionals

When It’s Time to Drop Your Parents’ Health Insurance.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate for twenty-somethings has plummeted.
July 29, 2021
Myth: Life Insurance is NOT Taxable
insurance

Myth: Life Insurance is NOT Taxable

The reality is that life insurance is treated as an asset in your estate. And if the payout pushes your estate past federal or state estate tax exclus…
July 12, 2021