Nearly half of all Americans each year make New Year’s resolutions, especially commitments to exercise more, eat better and improve one’s health. However, research suggests fewer than 10 percent of people are successful in achieving those resolutions.
But what if you could use technology to get paid for making and achieving some of your New Year’s resolutions, especially those aimed at improving your health? That is the goal behind new products in the growing health and wellness industry, which is leveraging technology to help make it easier for people to maintain and improve their health.
The latest health innovations are on display this week in Las Vegas, home to the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This annual showcase brings together the latest innovations from leading companies worldwide, including those focused on health care.
To help people improve their health and save money in 2017, here are five ways you can use technology that may enhance their personal and financial well-being:
- Find a Fitness Tracker: The wearable-technology market is booming; the industry’s value is expected to reach $31.2 billion by the end of 2020, according to a recent research report. This is good news for consumers, as wearable devices enable people to track their daily steps, monitor their heart rates and analyze sleep patterns. Some employers and health plans are including fitness trackers as part of wellness programs, enabling some employees to earn up to $1,500 per year in incentives by meeting specific daily walking goals. Likewise, websites such as www.achievemint.com enable people to earn cash rewards for walking.
- Workplace Wellness: Besides fitness trackers, some employers offer other wellness incentives, which can include gift cards, lower health insurance premiums, cash bonuses, and discounts on gym memberships. The value of corporate wellness incentives has increased to $693 per employee, up from $430 five years ago, according to a recent study from the National Business Group on Health. However, the study found that fewer than half of eligible employees earned the full incentive, with workers leaving millions of dollars of unclaimed rewards.
- Comparison shopping: The internet has transformed how people purchase goods and services, and it is doing the same for health care. Some new online and mobile services enable people to comparison shop for health care based on quality and cost. The Health4Me app, available on iPhone and Android devices, enables users to identify nearby health care providers and facilities, as well as compare quality and estimated cost information for more than 850 common medical services.
- Get Care Anywhere: New mobile apps now enable people to meet with a primary care physician and specialist to obtain medical care, with the goal of providing convenience and more affordable care. The cost of a video-based virtual visit is usually less than $50 and may provide significant savings when compared to costs for similar minor medical needs treated at a doctor’s office (approximately $80), urgent care facility (approximately $160) or emergency room (approximately $650), according to UnitedHealthcare claims data. Recent advances in audio and video technology is enabling people to obtain a diagnosis and necessary prescriptions for minor medical needs including allergies, sinus and bladder infections, bronchitis and other conditions.
- Keep Yourself Covered: The New Year is also a good time to evaluate whether you have the necessary level of financial protection to get you through an unforeseen medical issue. A life, disability or critical illness & accident insurance policy may provide peace of mind so you can focus on getting better. Some Americans are underinsured or lack life insurance altogether to help protect an important asset – their ability to earn an income.
The New Year is an opportune time to reflect on your personal and financial health. By taking advantage of available resources, people may improve both their waistlines and their wallets.