As part of the nation’s efforts to prevent an increase in the number of people with chronic health conditions, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new, $100 million program allowing states to offer incentives to Medicaid enrollees who adopt healthy behaviors such as quitting smoking or losing weight.
Under the Act, states may apply to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for grants to fund programs that demonstrate changes in health risk and outcomes, including the adoption of healthy behaviors.
One way to encourage difficult changes in life habits such as overeating or smoking, research has shown, is to offer economic incentives to those who reach stated goals. With that in mind, CMS will encourage states to adopt such strategies as rewarding Medicaid enrollees who meet goals established for them such as weight loss, smoking cessation or diabetes prevention or control. Rewards could range from direct cash incentives, gift cards to grocery stores or other retailers, reduced Medicaid program fees (if any apply) or offering services not normally available through Medicaid.