Texas Insurer Encouraging 'Walking' Toward Good Health

United Health Care in Texas is taking the first 'steps' toward upping 'wellness programs' in the workplace, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

UHC Texas CEO Dave Militch says the company is now paying cash bonuses, and even a free Apple watch, to people in its employer-sponsored healthcare plans who participate in what is called the 'Motion' program, which encourages people simply to walk to stay healthy.

"Individuals can earn between three and four dollars a day, and those dollars are deposited into an account, a Health Reimbursement Account of a Health Savings Account," Militch said.

He says the program encourages members to reach what are called 'FIT goals.'  FIT stands for 'Frequency, Intensity and Tenacity,' and involve walking 10,000 total steps each day, completing 3,000 steps within 30 minutes, and completing 500 steps within seven minutes six times per day, at least an hour apart.

Militch says the average American adult already walks about 5200 steps per day, so this program doesn't require people to run a Marathon or to bench press 300 pounds, it is in fact an exercise which is very valuable in maintaining good health, which almost everybody can participate in.  In fact, he says people with chronic health conditions are actually more likely to participate, and people with diabetes are 40% more likely.He says 59 percent of people who register for the Motion program stay active for at least six months, that is far more than people who maintain gym memberships for that long

.And, starting this year, Motion participants are eligible to receive a free Apple Watch, which they can use to keep track of all those steps.

"Through the Motion program, as you hit these goals, you can earn points which will enable you to get that watch for free," he said.

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