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Oscar the Great

Fit Bit? Me? No way. The only motivation needed for me to take a walk is my sneakers. Or someone asking. Even if I’ve already biked 30 miles, I’m like the postal service, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat…” I’m down for a walk.

Up until the end of September I had health benefits. But then my job went “poof!” and along with it, my doctors. Before my benefits ended I checked my options. From Obama Care to Cobra, it didn’t take long for my eyes to glaze over, the myriad of options confusing. Just as I was about to pick Cobra and hand over my life’s savings, I met Oscar. Oscar is a new health care company whose motto is: “Smart, simple health insurance.” The site is clean and easy to navigate. I called and a real person answered. The rep spent a half hour helping me choose the best coverage plan for my needs. All I had to submit was my letter of termination (which I did by taking a picture with my phone and emailing it). Soon I was accepted. Relief flooded through me as I could continue to bike ride without worry.

A few days later a friendly info guide arrived in the mail explaining how Oscar worked. There are doctors on call 24/7, free generic drugs, a partial reimbursement for gym membership and a free Misfit (like a Fitbit). Then I read the not-so-fine print. Every day you reach your goal steps, you get $1 towards an Amazon gift card, with the potential for $240 a year. For something I do anyway? Sign me up.

The Misfit arrived and it took minutes to link to the Oscar app. My first day’s goal was 2,000 steps. I did over 14,000. The next day’s goal was 10,000. Again, I crushed it. The third day I was busier and when I was almost home, checked my total steps: 7,000. Despite being tired, I walked a few extra blocks until I hit my goal. That’s when it hit me. With “annual health costs related to obesity in the U.S. nearly $200 billion,” according to The Campaign to End Obesity, it seems like health care companies could spend less if they took a proactive approach instead by paying folks to get off their keisters and walk. Kind of like common sense healthcare.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, all Americans could use to take a few more steps. People don’t listen to warnings about eating unhealthy, but maybe they’d listen to free money. Getting healthy takes baby steps. Wouldn’t it be motivating to get paid to take them?

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