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Am J Prev Med. 2013 Jun;44(6):659-65. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.01.035.

Financial incentives for healthy behavior: ethical safeguards for behavioral economics.

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Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA.


Economic incentives to promote healthy behavior are becoming increasingly common and have been suggested as an approach to decreasing healthcare costs. Ethical concerns about programs with such incentives are that they may contribute to inequities, be coercive, interfere with therapeutic relationships, undermine personal responsibility for health, and decrease social solidarity. Additionally, they may be a source of stigma or discrimination, promote dependence, and be unfair for those already engaged in targeted health behaviors or those who cannot fulfill the incentivized behaviors. Incentive programs need to incorporate appropriate safeguards to monitor these risks and support fairness in offering economic incentives to promote healthy behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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