Private Health Insurance Companies Encouraged to Provide Financial Incentives to Policy Holders to Stay Healthy and in Shape

Posted: Dec 17, 2002 in

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Dec. 17, 2002 – The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s nonprofit fitness advocate, today endorsed House Concurrent Resolution 474, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Karen McCarthy and U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun. Designed to encourage private health companies to take a proactive role in creating a healthy and active population, H.C.R. 474 will support financial incentives to policy holders to stay healthy and fit, which will in turn lead to lower health care costs for these individuals and their insurance companies.

In addition to encouraging discounted premiums to those who exercise regularly, the resolution also supports the screening of diseases that are very treatable if detected early. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson estimates that the treatment of preventable health conditions costs individuals, the government and insurance companies $270 billion each year. More than $188 billion of these costs are attributed to obesity, which, in most cases, can be effectively treated by physical activity and a healthy diet. Seven in 10 adults exercise infrequently, even though regular exercise strengthens the heart and circulatory systems, improves immune system function and decreases the frequency of disease.

“Far too many Americans lead inactive, unhealthy lifestyles,” said Ken Germano, executive director for the American Council on Exercise. “Insurance companies can make an enormous impact by providing positive incentives for those who need added motivation to become active and stay fit.”

"Private health insurance companies are in a unique position to improve Americans' fitness levels by providing financial incentives to their policy holders to stay healthy and in shape, which will in turn lead to lower health care costs for both individuals and the insurance companies,” said Congresswoman Karen McCarthy.

During President Bush’s launch of the Healthier U.S. fitness initiative this year, he announced that if 10% of American adults exercised more, “We could save billions of dollars in costs related to heart disease and cancer.” Research suggests that we can dramatically reduce morbidity and mortality rate among Americans simply by changing our diets and getting more exercise. The evidence is clear: a physically active America is a stronger America.

About ACE
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s Authority on Fitness, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. As the nation’s “workout watchdog,” ACE sponsors university-based exercise science research and testing that targets fitness products and trends. ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at

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