DENVER – Insurance company Kaiser Permanente Colorado is offering cash to Coloradans to lose weight and keep it off.
Companies have been making similar offers to their employees for years as a way to reduce obesity in the workplace and lower health costs, but Kaiser is taking it one step further and making the offer to any adult in Colorado.
It’s one of the first programs in the nation to make such an offer to all adults.
Participants in the “Weigh and Win” program earn anywhere from $15 to $150 every three months to lose weight and keep it off.
Twelve kiosks with scales and a video camera to record progress are located in medical facilities, recreation centers, libraries and even a furniture store throughout the state.
The insurer is spending $500,000 to help jump-start the program, which it hopes will eventually be funded by the cities and other health care groups that it’s working with.
Kaiser hopes to expand Weigh and Win by adding 10 kiosks next year as part of its community outreach programs.
“Weight loss is as effective as mammograms, or colon cancer screenings or blood pressure control when you speak about the amount of dollars you spend for the life years you gain from the program,” said Dr. Eric France, who’s in charge of developing the program at the insurer.
“And from the medical perspective, losing about 5 percent body weight is considered valuable and helpful,” said France, Kaiser’s chief of population care and prevention services.
About 8,900 Coloradans have signed up since the program began in April. The average weight loss has been about 12 pounds.