Individuals Who Conduct Regular Exercise Achieve Lower Health Care Costs Says New Study by Medica and Life Time Fitness
MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new study released by Medica and Life Time Fitness (NYSE:LTM) demonstrates that Medica members who began a new, regular program of exercise at Life Time Fitness centers saw a decrease in claim costs after just two years in the program. The members, who received a financial incentive to exercise regularly, saw an average claim cost decrease of more than 33 percent on a per member per month basis during the period.
The study involved 3,249 participants in the Fit ChoicesSM 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. To ensure comparability with regard to health care expenditures before and after participating in the Fit Choices program, a control group of equivalent size, demographics, health status, and health care consumption habits also was established. Health care costs examined included facility claims, physician claims and RX claims, which were summed to derive total expenditures.
According to the study’s results, new Life Time Fitness members who exercised at least eight days per month after joining the Fit Choices program achieved an overall 33.6 percent per member per month average claim cost decrease as compared with the comparison test group in their second year of program participation. These participants also realized the following claims cost decreases relative to the control group:
The study also revealed dramatic 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:
“Fit Choices is all about helping people make better decisions about their health,” said Charles Fazio, M.D, chief medical officer at Medica. “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.”
“We are highly encouraged by the study’s findings,” said Glen Gunderson, vice president of the Business-to-Business division at Life Time Fitness, Inc. “Life Time Fitness’ centers, programs and services have been specifically designed to allow individuals to take charge of their own health and wellbeing by adopting healthy-way-of-life habits in their everyday lives. Through the innovative partnership we started with Medica in 1999, we have demonstrated that people who decide to make a positive change in their lives through regular exercise and sound nutrition not only are healthier, but also, achieve real, quantifiable financial benefits, both as a result of the membership dues credit they receive and through reduced health care costs paid either by their insurer or out of their own pockets.”
In addition to monthly membership dues reimbursement, Fit Choices participants also receive preferred Life Time Fitness membership enrollment fees and may take advantage of a comprehensive personal fitness screening, development of an individualized health and wellness action plan, any many other unique programs and services.
Fit Choices is a standard component of Medica’s offerings to fully insured customers and is offered as an option for self-insured groups.
Keeping people healthy not only saves lives, it saves money. Studies show an estimated 70 percent of all illnesses are due to lifestyle-related causes such as obesity and physical inactivity, and one-half of all medical costs are attributable to illnesses that could be prevented. Within this environment, Medica estimates that it spends $80 million a year in health care costs for overweight and obesity-related illnesses among its commercial fully insured members – customers that account for approximately a third of all Medica members.
Serving more than 1.3 million members, Medica is a health insurance company headquartered in Minneapolis and active in the Upper Midwest. The non-profit company provides health care coverage in the employer, individual, Medicaid, Medicare and Medicare Part D markets in Minnesota and a growing number of counties in North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Medica also offers national network coverage to employers who also have employees outside the Medica regional network. Medica has the highest accreditation status, Excellent, from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA®) for its Minnesota Medicaid HMO plans and commercial health plans in Minnesota and North Dakota. Medica’s vision is to become the community’s health plan of choice, trusted for its integrity, respected for its service, and admired for its commitment to innovation and efficiency.
About Life Time Fitness, Inc.
Life Time Fitness, Inc. (NYSE:LTM) operates distinctive and large sports and athletic, professional fitness, family recreation and resort/spa centers. As of May 21, 2007 the Company operated 62 centers in 14 states, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Utah and Virginia. The Company also operates two satellite facilities and five preview locations in existing and new markets. Additionally, Life Time Fitness provides consumers with personal training consultation, full-service spas and cafes, corporate wellness programs, health and nutrition education, the healthy lifestyle magazine - Experience Life, athletic events, and nutritional products and supplements. Life Time Fitness is headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and may be accessed on the Web at www.lifetimefitness.com. LIFE TIME FITNESS, the LIFE TIME FITNESS logo, and EXPERIENCE LIFE are registered trademarks of Life Time Fitness, Inc. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Labels: Health Care Costs