Most Employees Would Undergo a Physical to Get Reduced Premiums

October 24, 2007 ( - Most Americans say they would be willing to take a physical to test for at-risk health behavior if it meant they could get reduced health premiums, according to survey underwritten by the Principal Financial Group.

The survey of about 1,000 individuals found 72% of respondents said they would be willing to take a required physical examination to determine whether they engaged in risky health behaviors, if it meant they could qualify for reduced premiums.

Nearly three-fourths of Americans (70%) said they would likely participate in an incentive program if it reduced their health insurance premium by 5%, while 77% indicated they would participate if it reduced their premium by 10%.

Two-thirds of Americans (66%) indicated they are talking to doctors more carefully about treatment options and costs, up from 57% in 2006, according to the survey. More than three-fourths (81%) of respondents say they are trying to take better care of themselves.

Eighty-three percent of Americans said a wellness program sponsored by their employer would help them develop a healthier lifestyle, and 76% of Americans agreed employers who offer wellness programs are showing concern for their workers.

Rising health care costs have also led Americans to choose generic drugs, when available (78%), visit the doctor only for more serious conditions or symptoms (64%), and switch to over-the-counter drugs (42%).

Thirty percent of Americans rated the American health care system as poor, nearly double since 1998, while 71% of Americans indicated the system needs a complete overhaul. However, 55% of Americans said they are extremely or very satisfied with the quality of their own health plan; 33% are somewhat satisfied; and 12% are not satisfied.

The survey was conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), and is available in the November issue of EBRI Notes at .