Offer perks to get people to stay healthy

SINAGPORE - We should aggressively stress personal responsibility to improve the health and fitness of individuals ("Transform the way health care is delivered"; last Saturday).

There has to be a carrot-and-stick approach to motivate people to lead healthy lifestyles from the moment they begin working and start a family, and not wait until they are old and sickly.

The Government can provide incentives such as tax rebates to those who are fit and healthy, as these people do not burden the national health-care system.

There is a great overlap between company hospitalisation insurance plans and an individual's Central Provident Fund (CPF) Shield plans.

Companies can discontinue their hospitalisation insurance plans that are not portable, and instead top up their employees' Medisave accounts to enhance their CPF Shield plans. In this way, companies can save on premiums, and staff can enhance their CPF Shield plans.

It would be in the companies' interest to ensure that their employees are fit and healthy as this will cut health-care costs and improve productivity.

They should partner government agencies and the community to promote healthy lifestyles and offer perks such as cash or in-kind rewards to employees who are fit and healthy.

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