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Japan wants fit folks to pay less for health care

TOKYO -- Japan's health ministry is craftng a plan to offer discounts on public medical insurance premiums as an incentive for scoring higher on screenings.

     Officials hope such rewards will keep more people free from Type 2 diabetes and other preventable but costly diseases.

     A health ministry council will begin discussing the proposal Friday, with legislation to follow next year. Most insurance programs would likely begin adopting the discounts in fiscal 2016.

     Under the incentive scheme, people who show improvement in blood pressure, blood sugar and other metrics would qualify for lower premiums. To do so, they would need to undergo a type of checkup introduced in recent years to fight hypertension, obesity and other conditions that can lead to serious trouble such as heart disease and diabetes.

     People who are already in good health may receive cash, fitness club coupons or other perks in lieu of discounts. How about 10,000 yen ($90) for staying out of the hospital for a year?

(Nikkei)

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