Incentive schemes 'could help insurance customers lead better lifestyles'
Incentive schemes could be an effective way of encouraging health insurance customers to change their lifestyles, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has suggested.
In a new report published by NICE's Citizens Council, the medical body advised such programmes are an acceptable way of encouraging people to lead healthier lifestyles.
Piloted systems that have been seen to work in various areas of the UK include urging pregnant women to stop smoking by offering them free supermarket vouchers, overweight individuals receiving cash for losing pre-agreed pounds and children being given toys if they eat more fruit and vegetables.
Some 62.5 per cent of the Citizens Council members agreed such initiatives should be in place, as long as cash incentives are only ever offered as a last resort.
Sir Michael Rawlins, chairman of NICE, said: "We clearly face several public health challenges in today's society, some more obvious than others and we must seek to improve these in ways that are likely to achieve the best health outcomes for those affected."
The body is now inviting members of the public to comment on the conclusions of the Citizens Council ahead of the report's presentation to the NICE board.