UF Prof: Health Insurance Should Pay For Fitness Classes
GAINSVILLE (CBS4) – A University of Florida researcher thinks all health insurance companies should reward people for working out by paying for their exercise classes, especially among high risk adults, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
An editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Director of the University of Florida Institute on Aging Dr. Marco Pahor says insurers should pay for structured exercise classes because the benefits far outweigh the costs. People who are on federal programs such as Medicare would especially benefit from the initiative because it would reduce the economic impact on the government.
“Cumulative work over the past few decades provides solid evidence for public policymakers to consider structured physical activity and exercise programs as worthy of insurance reimbursement,” Pahor said.
Pahor says it would help those who are at risk for long term health problems.
“The greatest benefits of physical exercise are achieved in those who are highest risk, such as those with diabetes,” Pahor said.
The report states that researchers have found that exercise programs are cost-effective and can potentially increase survival rates and quality of life. They have found that the most beneficial exercise regiment combines aerobics and weight training.
Some health insurance companies do offer health club incentives for their members, like monthly membership at certain fitness centers, access to personal trainers, or exercise classes at a reduced cost.
Researchers and doctors admit that more studies need to be done to determine what exercise regiments work best for which group of people suffering from specific ailments.