Heather Murphy-Raines/Scout's HonorNBC's Today show reported on a new current trend today: Financial Incentives for actions that used to be common sense.
As in incentives for mature, grown-up Americans to get them to do the right thing.
The logical thing.
Lately? We have insurance companies paying customers with high blood pressure to, you know, ACTUALLY take their medicine.
Seriously. One would think that taking their medicine would be in their best interest. One would think ... yet, some don't. Some forget. It seems, however, if they are paid up to $10 a day to take said medicine, they tend to be a bit more responsible.
"In a Philadelphia program people prescribed warfarin, an anti-blood-clot medication, can win $10 or $100 each day they take the drug -- a kind of lottery using a computerized pillbox to record if they took the medicine and whether they won that day."
So again: win-win?
Insurance companies don't pay hundreds of thousands for hospitalization from serious complications from unfilled prescriptions and the supposed grown-up gets paid to do what was already in his best interest.
There are also bribes of lower insurance premiums for those who lose weight or stop smoking (including required urinalysis testing as proof). Moreover, mentally ill patients are induced to take their antipsychotic injections to the tune of $22 a pop.
But wait, there's more ...
These financial enticements have spilled over into the corporate culture as well. With the economy spiraling down the toilet and jobs precious, you would think corporate fiduciary responsibility would requisite every office Joe and Sally to save for the company. Skimp as much as possible!
Wood Inlay & Reclining for Only $3,000 MoreThis common sense frugality in trying financial times has always been a practice with my husband. He parks in off-site airport parking rather than the pricey airport parking. He favors public transit if possible rather than a rental or arranges carpools with other traveling employees.
He recently won $100 Amex gift card for submitting an idea to save the company money. Did I mention he had been suggesting the same idea for months regardless of the contest and possible prize?
He is just naturally frugal.
So the idea is rather alien in this household that some companies are incentivising their employees to fly coach.
Yep, I know it's a sacrifice for some, but fly coach rather than business class overseas? Pfffth!
The payoff? They end up splitting the difference with said employee to the tune of up to a $1,500 payoff each trip. So much for corporate responsibility and company loyalty, eh?
But wait, there's more ...
Big Churches Mean Big Bribes?Even worse, it's hitting the church-going ilk. I can't tell you how many flyers I get for the huge mega church down the road from my home promising extravagant egg hunts, door prizes, whatever.
Shouldn't one go to church to worship, to save one's soul, and not to get their light bill paid?
Yes, you read that right.
A church in Florida had a contest for new visitors and paid four light bills if they came to church. Has it come to this?
And almost there, wait for it ...
It even hits this mommy's home. It starts early in this changing culture of what's in it for me. My son has asked over the years to be paid for his grades. It appears his friends get paid on a sliding scale for their grades or so he claims. $20 for each A, $10 for a B ... you get the picture.
8th Grade Honor Roll Grad: I Let Him LiveI tell him I will let him live if he stays above 3.5 GPA. There have been some close calls. He made it though.
He survived middle school with over the 3.5 required for honor roll.
Yet, seriously, shouldn't his grades be enough?
A sense of accomplishment, hard work, and doing the right thing?
A part of me wonders if this entitlement, this search for reward for doing the right thing, started with merit pay for teachers based on test scores. Test scores for extra pay for an element that is, in reality, something that is their job already.
Trickle down effect, my friends. Trickle down.
We have been paying the kids this summer for extra chores. My eldest asks if he will be paid to load the dishwasher. I say, "Yes." He will get paid. He will get to eat. Heh!
Not Yet & Hopefully Never Entitled Funny enough my daughter has yet to be effected by this desire for incentives. She also received an almost perfect report card. At her fifth-grade graduation, we were happy in that fact she will attend the prestigious Humanities Plus program in middle school.
... And no, she's didn't even ask for payment. She also doesn't ask to be paid to empty the dishwasher. Maybe she is too young as yet to have been infected?
Family and community and yes, even the business world, requires team work. Pitching in for the overall good.
Shouldn't saving your company be enough in these rough financial waters where one is lucky to have a job? Gratitude. Loyalty. Responsibility. My friend, looking for work with a family and mortgage to pay would love to be flying coach in that job. I know there are thousands unemployed out there who would feel equally grateful.
The same applies to religious participation shouldn't it? Shouldn't the spiritual uplift be enough without paying for one's light bill?
Aren't we substituting external rewards for a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, and being upstanding contributors to our society? Is this not outright bribery?
My Incentive to Take Care & Set the Right ExampleAnd shouldn't the threat of a heart attack be an incentive for me to put down the Java Chip I am sucking down as I write this in a Seattle Starbucks as my little guy slumbers and instead go take a walk on this glorious rare sunny day?
That little blond mohawked head on the left? He is my incentive. Actually all three of my little babies are my incentive. Those insurance companies can keep their stinkin' incentives. I am in it for my family and I am in it for my country.
And you, my friends? What are your motivations to do the right thing?
Additional Images via Scout's Honor/United States of Motherhood.com