Or to put it another way, could frolicking around in a field help you save on insurance costs?

I want to start this post right off by stating that the obvious answer to the question proposed in the title is yes.  Living a healthy lifestyle can not only provide you with higher energy levels, deeper sleep, a better mood, and an all-around more fine-tuned vessel in which to experience this world, it can also save you on some costly, and otherwise unnecessary expenses.

The majority of monetary savings gained from healthy living generally come in the form of cheaper health care, which for most people (especially young people) can be categorized as a long term benefit.  This can be a problem as we humans tend to favor direct benefits over what may be better for us in the future. Therefore, beyond the health benefits, that additional financial incentive to eat healthy and exercise may not be enough for some people.  Additionally, since a portion of the more nutritious dietary options on the market today tend to be a little bit pricier than their unhealthy counterparts, it is hard for some to make the investment now to save on medical bills in the future. To this I would say: would you rather pay the farmers and supermarkets now, or the doctors and insurance companies later?

But what if living healthy could provide us with direct financial benefits? And what if you could create health goals for yourself and even face a monetary penalty for failing to meet them? Well, providing these options is just what a company known as Pact Health is aiming to do for its customers. The program works by starting companies out with health insurance plans that are relatively cheap for employers but face employees with a higher deductible. Then, employees can commit to a health program in which their deductible is reduced by $5 if they exercise and increased by $5 if they miss a workout.

Through this program, those who stick to their plan are able to whittle their deductible down to a very affordable price, but if you fail to reach your goals you will face a penalty.  It’s this financial reward and punishment program that Pact co-founder and CEO Yifan Zhang is building her business model on.  According to Zhang, many pact users have shown an increase in the amount of time they spend working out, and when the financial reward isn’t enough, it’s often the prospect of facing a penalty that is more of a driving factor.    Unfortunately, however, running around in a field or elsewhere won’t work just yet as you must be in a GPS-confirmed gym in order to qualify your workout for the program.  Pact began in Massachusetts but is now based in San Francisco, so as incentive based health programs continue to become more popular, look out for Pact as a leader among the bunch!