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Friday, December 30, 2011 8:57:17 AM

My health insurer doesn’t give me any benefits for staying fit. How can I get health insurance discounts for going to the gym?

First, pat yourself on the back for staying active. Studies show the more physically fit you are, the less likely you are to get sick, suffer injuries, struggle with depression or cope with some types of cancer. While your health insurance provider may not have a cut-and-dried system in place for discounts that reward your positive lifestyle, you may be able to get some benefit from your employer.

Here are tips to get the most out of staying fit:

1. Take the initiative. Oftentimes, an employer might not have any sort of incentive program when it comes to fitness because no one's had the time investigate the possibilities. Ask to speak with the membership managers at local gyms and let them know you work for a company that might be interested in a corporate membership. Collect the information and give it to your human resources representative with a plan for introducing discounts to employees who participate in a fitness program.

2. Engage your co-workers. An employer will be more likely to launch a program if it affects a sizable portion of the staff. If you can come up with a program on your own and present it to management as a company initiative, you are more apt to get support from your employer.

3. Ask your insurer about perks. While your carrier may not provide discounts, some offer programs that get you free perks (even gift cards) for logging your workouts each day on their websites. Signing up for these programs is free and can result in some hefty prizes.

4. Do your homework. Make sure you aren’t missing out on a perk with your insurer. For instance, your health insurer may offer rebates ranging from 5 percent to 50 percent off your monthly fitness club fees.

5. Develop an appetite for apps. Smartphone apps that support health and fitness communities are abundant. Look for a few that can help keep you motivated to live an active lifestyle.

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Laura Adams is a personal finance expert, award-winning author, and consumer advocate. As Senior Insurance Analyst, she represents insuranceQuotes in the media and works to make sure consumers protect their financial futures by having the right kinds of insurance.

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