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Monday, August 25, 2014

Wellness Incentives: A National Soda Tax?

A few weeks ago, Mark Bittman penned an op-ed in the New York Times about a possible national tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Realistically, the bill has little chance of passing, but Bittman argues that it's necessary to curb sugar consumption. People simply need a financial incentive to make better choices.

We talk a lot about incentives in the wellness world, and for good reason. They're essential. Especially in the first year of a comprehensive wellness program, it's important to offer an incentive that will motivate employees to participate. Your strategy can change over time, moving from tangible incentives (cash, gift cards, etc.), to premium discounts, to outcomes-based incentives that are tied to insurance premiums.

As Bittman points out, requiring calorie counts on restaurant menus was considered far-fetched just a few years ago. Now it's commonplace. So who knows? Maybe a national tax on sugar isn't as unlikely as it seems.

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