Companies are paying employees to stay healthy

Helayne Seidman

Corporate America is handing out huge cash bonuses this year to workers who hit the gym and knock off pounds.

Call it their pound of flesh. Skyrocketing health-care costs are forcing more American employers to reward workers for good health, which often translates into fewer doctor visits and lower health-care insurance premiums.

And this “carrot and stick,” popularly known as preventative care, may be one of the hottest health-care workplace trends in 2018, according to analysts.

This battle of the bulge can be waged profitably. Just ask Laura Mahony, whose employer’s monthly $200 cash bonus — a generous $2,400 annually for keeping fit — allows her to avail herself of a variety of healthy activities in high-cost New York City.

“The bonus is added by direct deposit to my paycheck and can be used for anything health-related, including weight-loss programs, massages and workout classes,” said Mahoney, 29, a coach at Noom, which offers professional wellness services.

“I mainly use the bonus for different gyms, which otherwise would be costly for me, and I probably would not be able to join,” she added.

Her Noom colleague, Peter Athans, who is based in New Paltz, pays for special dietary drinks and gym memberships with his monthly $200 bonus.

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