Results-based incentives are rapidly becoming state-of-the-art. In addition to annual retesting, rules require that the employer provide a "reasonable alternative standard" for those whose health status makes short-term perfection an unrealistic goal. The following is a brief summary of the role of progress-based incentives as a reasonable alternative standards:
- The employer can define an education-based “reasonable alternative standard”: for smokers such as a smoking cessation class. For the obese, perhaps the alternative is a class in nutrition
- But there's no assurance that educational alternatives translate into change that reduces health risk
- Here's where progress-based incentives make sense as an alternative standard: At-risk employees can focus on a realistic individualized goal rather than face a standard that seems unattainable. For weight, a progress-based goal might be a 10 pound or a 5 percent weight loss. For cholesterol, perhaps a reduction of LDL by 10 points per year. As long as progress is meaningful, health risk is decreasing, and the goal of health improvement is constantly promoted.
Through MyLife Rewards, Lifesigns builds alternative progress-based goals into the system in advance so that at risk employees can easily select a realistic endpoint and be encouraged rather than penalized in their journey.