Can an insurance company motivate people to exercise?

Short answer? Not very well.


My health insurance company has a program called "blue points" which is supposed to motivate me and my co-workers to exercise.  It’s a great idea – very poorly applied.  Yet another example of the "what " and the "how" being too far apart from each other.  


Senior Executive:  "Hey – let’s motivate people to exercise more – by giving them free stuff if they exercise – let’s develop a program that lets them log they activity.  When they log activities – we give them points .. and at the end of the year – they can cash in the points for free stuff." 


Development project manager: "OK .. we’ll make a website that they can use to log in and log their points"


But they missed the part where they think carefully about the user experience.  Primary goal: encourage exercise.  So we want to enable the application to capture the fact that exercise happened in a manner that is very easy for the end-user.  Core principle:  meet the user where they live – don’t make the user jump through too many hoops to achieve the goal.


I exercise often.  As often as I should?  No – but at least three days a week – and usually more.  In the past year – I ran two half-marathons, one full marathon, and several shorter races.  Training for all of this required that I run as much as 40 miles/week.  So I should have plenty of "blue points" – right?  well .. no – because I would rather spend my valuable time exercising rather than logging my exercise.


Let’s see what it takes to log exercise with Blue Points.


Log in to the Blue Cross website:



9:26  AM – find the Blue Points link:



9:27   .. ahh here it is .. 



Next screen … 



New window … logged in .. pick an activity .. 



9:28   … log my activity .. 



9:29  … type type .. click .. 



Check the log to make sure it was saved.





Total time = 4 minutes.  Not much, you say?  What if I was exercising instead of sitting on my butt during these 4 minutes!


so .. five days a week (optimal case .. bear with me) .. exercise for 4 minutes  .. = 20 minutes of exercise.. for 50 weeks .. = ~ 15,000 calories I’d spend over a year .. if I didn’t have to navigate this maze of a website every time.


Is there an alternative?


Of course. I can think of a handful ? But I won’t lead the witness. Click here and let me know what you think is a better way. I’ll add some of the best of our ideas to mine in a follow-up post. We’ll then see if we can get their attention and get this implemented. J ..

2 thoughts on “Can an insurance company motivate people to exercise?

  1. Use twitter and let participants tweet their activity to BCBS, while at the same time sharing their passion for exercise with their followers.
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