By Phil Galewitz
When Bruce Hodgins went to the doctor for a checkup in Sioux City, Iowa, he was asked to complete a lengthy survey to gauge his health risks.
In return for filling it out, he saved a $10 monthly premium for his Medicaid coverage.
In Las Cruces, N.M., Isabel Juarez had her eyes tested, her teeth cleaned and recorded how many steps she walked with a pedometer.
In exchange, she received a $100 gift card from Medicaid to help her buy health care products including mouthwash, vitamins, soap and toothpaste.
Taking a cue from workplace wellness programs, Iowa and New Mexico are among more than a dozen states offering incentives to Medicaid beneficiaries to get them to make healthier decisions — and potentially save money for the state-federal health insurance program for the poor.
The stakes are huge because Medicaid enrollees are more likely to engage in unhealthy practices, such as smoking, and are less likely to get preventive care, studies show. Continue reading