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Playing for Wellness (Wall Street Journal)

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People are gaming the insurance industry and getting prizes for it. To encourage members to be healthier, insurers are turning to tactics of digital gaming. Methods include team competitions through online communities, virtual and real-world rewards, and working with games for consoles that involve physical activity. Insurers are under pressure to show they can bring down costs by improving consumers’ health. They also want to offer features that appeal to individuals buying their own insurance—a group that will grow dramatically in 2014 if the health reform law is upheld. Cigna has a tie-in with DailyFeats, an online group that lets participants win points for exercising or eating fruit and vegetables. WellPoint is developing a program that uses Kinect to get people to exercise. Other insurers have unveiled similar incentives to improve health.