The country's largest health insurer says it will pay up for good health--offering bonuses to employees who boost patients' use of preventive medical services. WellPoint Inc.'s plan is intended to encourage participation in programs like diabetes management, which helps patients handle their medical needs before they end up in the emergency room.
The insurance industry is lauding the effort to attack rising health-care costs at the source. But some critics question the concept. "It makes you wonder," says the head of one advocacy group. "Why are employees being rewarded for doing the right thing in the first place? Shouldn't prevention be the standard of care, not something you reward?"