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It Pays To Be Healthy

January 5, 2012, 10:16 PM by Angela Kennecke

It Pays To Be Healthy
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Looking to get a little extra cash from your employer? At some companies it pays to be healthy.

It turns out financial incentives to lose weight, stay healthy and get fit pay off for both businesses and employees.

Terri Meyer is a supervisor at Amesbury, which produces all the hardware for windows and doors. While staying fit is important to Meyer, she also gets paid for it.

"Then they started paying you cash incentives. If you went to the doctor-if you did your yearly physical, you got a cash amount. If you went to dentist twice year, you got a cash amount; if you went to the gym you got a cash amount. That would be paid out to you and if your spouse went they also got that cash," Meyer said.

The first year, Meyer got $50 for going to the doctor for regular checkups--the next year she got $60 and this year the company has doubled its cash incentives to employees to $120 a year.

"Maybe $120 is and if you get an employee and their spouse that's $240," Amesbury Director of Human Resources Stephen Brennan said.

Plus the company will pay $120 a year towards an employee gym membership.

Leif Eidsmoe: I do not use the gym membership. I should. Maybe if it was a little bit more, I would use it.
Angela Kennecke: Maybe for a little more money?
Leif Eidsmoe: Yeah.

About 20 percent of the employees do take advantage of the gym membership reimbursement. And even more get paid to go to the doctor. And the savings is adding up with healthier Amesbury employees. Typically health care premiums rise about 10 percent a year--but this year they stayed the same here.

"Over the past three years, it's had a huge impact on our health care costs. From a perspective of monthly premiums employees pay as well as the employer, we've seen a significant reduction in past three years," Brennan said.

The company saw almost a half million dollars in savings in health insurance costs in just a year's time.

"Oh it's a win-win. It's good for the company-we save money on insurance plans, helping get premiums lower, your deductibles for everybody-it's good," Eidsmoe said.

Because the company has saved so much on its health care coverage costs, employees who take part in the incentive program will also get a 20 percent rebate on their insurance premiums for 2012.

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