Insurer Finds Benefits from Member Exercise Program

May 21, 2007 ( - A new study released by Medica and Life Time Fitness demonstrates that Medica members who began a new, regular program of exercise at Life Time Fitness centers saw a decrease in claim costs after two years in the program.

According to a news release, the members, who received a financial incentive to exercise regularly, saw an average claim cost decrease of more than 33% on a per member per month basis during the period.

The study found that new Life Time Fitness members who exercised at least eight days per month after joining the Fit Choices program achieved an overall 33.6% per member per month average claim cost decrease as compared with the comparison test group in their second year of program participation.

According to the news release, the participants also realized the following claims cost decreases relative to the control group:

  • a 64.3% decrease in facility claims.
  • a 13% decrease in physician claims.
  • a 9.2% decrease in Rx claims.

The study also revealed differences in visits to inpatient, emergency room and outpatient health care service providers among the same comparison groups.

Non-program participant control group members realized an average of:

  • 63.6% more visits to inpatient facilities.
  • 105% more visits to emergency room facilities.
  • 43.3% more visits to outpatient facilities.

“Fit Choices is all about helping people make better decisions about their health,” said Charles Fazio, M.D, chief medical officer at Medica, a Minneapolis insurer, in the release. “When we formalized our partnership with Life Time Fitness in 2003, we began making an investment in peoples’ health and, in doing so, we expected to see it pay dividends by way of controlled health care costs. Via the study, we found that offering a financial incentive is effective in motivating people to exercise. We also validated that health care cost reductions occur when participants exercise at least eight days per month and participants experienced improvement in their health status based upon self-reported survey results.”

The study involved 3,249 participants in the Fit Choices by Medica program, which offers a $20 monthly credit from Medica toward the payment of members’ monthly dues if they exercise at least eight days per month at their chosen Life Time Fitness center.