Saving money while making people healthier

We’ve all heard that eating better and exercising more is good for health. The hard part is getting people to do it (and that certainly includes me).

A couple of doctors have been doing research on that, and the results deserve more attention. Basically, people were given the opportunity of using gyms and getting basic nutrition counseling for free. Those who participated showed significant improvements, even more so if they were over 60.

Moreover, since the people in question stayed healthier, their health costs were lower. Insurers, including Medicare, can save money — potentially a lot of money — by paying for these programs.

The following succinct video by Dr Aaron Carroll explains the research and the results and laments it isn’t better known. One thing he doesn’t mention is that people in some Medicare-related programs now get free gym memberships as part of their coverage. For example, at least one Medicare Advantage policy offered in my area includes free use of thousands of gyms all over the United States. The gym gets paid for each visit by a participant, so it’s in their interest to encourage people to use the facilities.


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