Everyone has seen the Geico commercials and heard the phrase, “15 minutes can save you 15% on car insurance.” Their ads are clever and they spend over $500 million a year to recite that phrase on your TV thousands of times per year. However, inundating us with clever ads is not the only secret to their success. Let’s talk about Geico later.
Just recently, I attended an event called “CEO’s against Cancer”. I was invited as a special guest of the American Cancer Society and the other attendees were CEO’s from major corporations in Minnesota that each had 1,000 + employees. Because of their size, almost every one of these high profile companies operate under a “self-funded” health insurance plan.
The purpose of the event was to conduct an open discussion on the topics of cancer research and new developments, health care, health insurance costs, employee wellness strategies, smoking cessation programming, and to collaborate on best practices and strategies to foil cancer and other health related issues that ultimately affect their employees and therefore, the performance of their businesses.
Almost every CEO in attendance stated that they offer an employee wellness plan with financial incentives or financial penalties to encourage employee participation.
Let me give you a with real life examples:
- One company provides employees with an open enrollment into a company wellness program. If an employee chooses not to participate, they pay $50.00 more per month towards their health insurance premiums. If they choose to participate, they save over $600.00 per year. This company boasts a 90%+ adoption rate amongst their entire employee base. Many of the other CEO’s mentioned similar programs with monetary incentives and/or monetary consequences if an employee chose to participate or not.
- Another MN business was the visionary company behind the health insurance reimbursement program. With their prodding, one HMO after another (in Minnesota) began the $20 reimbursement to health clubs based on individual usage. In this program, we’ve seen usage rates as high as 55%—which is among the best usage rates I’ve ever seen in 20+ years in the fitness industry.
So as they say, “Money talks!”
But what does this have to do with Geico?
Much of Geico’s success is due to the personal responsibility we all have to pay our own auto insurance—and each day, we make a conscious choice to drive within the speed limit, obey traffic laws, and wear a seat belt. The fact is, the average consumer is very sensitive to maintaining a clean driving record, making lifestyle choices and purchasing certain automobiles to control auto-insurance costs.
Why? Because it directly comes out of their pocket.
Isn’t it a bit insane that we care more about our car insurance costs vs. our health insurance costs?
The reason for that is because until now, we haven’t had to pay for it. We simply didn’t care what our employer had to pay. It didn’t affect us. But as you can see from the two examples above, that is changing—and soon. Employees and consumers will be asked to pay for or share in the costs of their health care premiums, and lifestyle choices will significantly impact the monthly rates (just like car insurance).
Once people feel the pain in their wallet, they’ll make a conscious choice to save money and be healthier by making the better lifestyle choices.
I can’t wait for the day when a commercial says…. 15 minutes can save you 15% on your HEALTH INSURANCE!”
6/24/2010 at 6:18 PM