Oscar Health Insurance, which sells health plans on Obamacare exchanges in New York and New Jersey, will pay members $240 per year in Amazon gift cards for the thousands of steps they take each day.
It is very rare to where an insurer offers incentives to members to improve their health. Oscar is a company backed by Venture capital, usually employer sponsored health plans use incentives to offer incentives to employees in their workplace wellness plans.
Oscar made its debut in New York last year with the Affordable Care Act. The national healthcare law bars insurers in the individual market from discriminating against consumers on the basis of their relative health or age, and provides subsidies for low-income households to buy coverage.
In 2015 they plan to initiate a new walking program, which can be tracked by wearing a watch designed to track member's steps by Misfit. The information will be tracked and sent to an Oscar software application, which has set each day's goals. This program will also work with Healthkit which is an Apple Inc's health application.
Depending on the member's exercise level goals begin at 2,000 steps a day and max out at 10,000 steps.
The concept evolved on research, which showed that walking 6,000 steps a day will definitely improve health noticeably.
Some members should see improved health early on, while other effects would take longer to materialize, he said.
"Nobody has to be in training to achieve the goal, but at the same time we want to stretch you a little more out of the daily routine and make you walk more than you normally would," Schlosser added.