Payers have a number of opportunities to influence the behavior of patients or even their subscribers before they become patients. Governments have another set of levers for influencing the way the health system is used.
Dr. Broomberg of Discovery Health South Africa described their mix of approaches:
In addition, Discovery Health’s Vitality program incentivizes members to be more committed to wellness by earning points by exercising, eating healthy foods and hitting physiological targets. This is done through a unique system based on the science of behavioral economics wherein members are provided with a range of immediate incentives similar to a consumer loyalty program.
The more points earned, the steeper the discounts in accessing the rewards, with the top points range often being free. These are typically lifestyle promotions such as deals on flights, hotels, car hire as well as discounts in many stores. Wellness promoting behavior is also made easy because the size of the member base allows Vitality to negotiate discounted access to gyms and retail food outlets as well as a wide range of health promoting partners. The program goes much further than similar schemes in richer countries.
Members are given an estimation of the gap between their chronological age and their ‘health status’ age and are given support and advice to close this. Vitality is able to show significant health gain and cost reduction through this program.