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apps from health insurers – Many health insurers try to motivate customers with lifestyle apps to live healthier lives. Apps that give tangible rewards work best, according to a tour of todaysgist. If there are no or only virtual rewards, people will not maintain their good behavior for as long.

At the end of the year, many people switch to another health insurance. Health insurers try to lure customers in all kinds of ways, for example with lifestyle patches that can help you to live a healthier life. (Lifestyle apps from health insurers)

apps from health insurers

Most of these apps only give virtual rewards for healthy behavior. For example, you will receive a sticker or cup for a virtual trophy cabinet for a run. But the SamenGezond app (Menzis, Anderzorg and HEMA) and the ASR Vitality app (ASR and Ditzo) give real rewards, such as gift cards or even a contribution to an Apple Watch. Customers can earn these if they exercise or do a health check.

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“Tangible rewards work very well,” says Raoul Nuijten. The behavioural scientist from Eindhoven University of Technology has conducted research into the effect of lifestyle apps. “We see that people use apps more often when they get physical rewards for doing so.”

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“Many people start the new year with good intentions, such as exercising more often,” nuijten explains. “Keeping the good intentions is often difficult. A tangible reward can then just give the extra push in the back to persevere”.

Pulling or undercarriing must not

The Consumers’ Association also sees something in the lifestyle apps “Everything that contributes to a healthier life can be applauded,” says spokesman Gerard Spierenburg. “But the basic insurance is the same for everyone. It cannot be the case that someone gets more discount because the app makes it easier for them to move and an older person is not eligible for it.”

That is not the case either. As a reward, the ASR Vitality app offers gift vouchers for, for example, bol.com or money back on the supplementary insurance. In the SamenGezond app, points earned can be exchanged for tickets in a lottery game from 2023. This allows users to win gifts. (Lifestyle apps from health insurers)

According to insurer ASR, the effect of lifestyle apps works both ways. “Customers stay healthy longer and the money that the insurer has to pay out for care remains manageable,” says spokesperson Rosanne de Boer. “In the long term, it therefore contributes to keeping health care premiums affordable.”

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‘It’s mainly marketing’

Health economist Bram Wouterse of Erasmus University in Rotterdam finds it remarkable that so many health insurers offer lifestyle apps: “In my opinion, it is mainly intended as a marketing tool. The basic insurance is the same with every insurer. With such an app, an insurer tries to distinguish itself from competitors.”

In Wouterse’s view, insurers have limited options to do something about the lifestyle of customers. “They are simply non-life insurers who want to buy care as cheaply as possible. Making customers healthier is not the main objective.”

Social role of health insurers

According to the health insurer, menzis’ SamenGezond app was mainly developed from the social role that the company has. “The app contributes to smaller health differences between people and less chronic care demand in the future,” says spokesperson Marlies Verhoef. (Lifestyle apps from health insurers)

“The lifestyle apps do not provide health insurers with any financial benefit,” Wouterse confirms. “That’s because of the Equalization Fund. Health insurers with many unhealthy customers who incur more healthcare costs are compensated by the fund. If the customers become healthier, the insurer will also receive less money from the risk equalisation fund.”

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Nevertheless, Wouterse thinks that a number of health insurers have sincere intentions with their lifestyle apps. “You can also see such an app as a form of care: with it you help people who are overweight, for example, to lose weight.”

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Lifestyle apps from health insurers

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