Americans who have health insurance are more inclined to exercise, eat fruits and vegetables, and not smoke than those without coverage, according to a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll.
The poll uses the Healthy Behaviors Index and asks about 200,000 people ages 18 to 64 specifically “whether they smoke, on how many days in the last week they exercised for at least 30 minutes, if they ate healthy all day ‘yesterday,’ and how many days they consumed five or more servings of fruits and vegetables in the last seven days” (http://bit.ly/xWv8MT).
How much wellness programs play a part in the difference is debatable, as only 8 percent of workers “strongly agree their organization does things to help them improve their physical health.”
The Affordable Care Act might increase the influence of wellness programs because, as the survey notes, it “will allow employers to raise wellness program rewards (or penalties) to 30 percent of total premiums in 2014 with the possibility of further increases up to 50 percent.”
Source: Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, 2011