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Incentives Offered to Help Uninsured Get Fit

LOUISVILLE, KY — Humana Inc. and Virgin Group formed a long-term partnership to sell a Virgin-branded health insurance product to help the 45-million uninsured Americans get fit through a training incentive program.

The insurance policy, which will be the first venture of a new U.S. unit called Virgin Life Health Care, will launch in Tampa Bay, FL, and San Antonio, TX, early next year before rolling out nationwide. Virgin implemented a similar program in South Africa before deciding to bring it to the United States.

“Virgin life care will help our customers get a better deal from health insurers while monitoring and improving their own fitness,” said Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin, in a recent release. “As they are beginning to feel better, they're actually getting, effectively, the cost of their insurance back.”

London-based Virgin plans to equip participating Virgin-branded health clubs with machines that monitor how long one of its insurance customers stays on the treadmill or works out. The company's HealthZone body pod will track the individual's vital health signs such as body mass index, weight and blood pressure.

The policyholders will then receive discounts that could include air miles, health club discounts and a lower premium on their health insurance.

According to an article in the Green Bay Press Gazette, the program could save individuals $1,000 a year.

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