Your Health Care Plan - in a Box; an 'Action Program' Helps ID Risk Factors

Article excerpt

Byline: Kevin Turner

In a feat of merchandising, a company with support staff in Jacksonville has put a preventive health care plan in boxes for sale in 537 Sam's Club stores nationwide.

The box, which carries a $99 price tag for Sam's Club members, contains an activation code that will unlock web-based health monitoring programs, produce a coupon for laboratory analysis of blood samples - drawn with either a home kit or in a Quest Diagnostics Inc. lab - and can make recommendations for lifestyle changes or doctor visits based on the results. The blood tests screen for diabetes indications and issues relating to thyroid, bones and minerals, liver, kidney, lipids, fluids and electrolytes. A separate survey screens for behaviors such as regular exercise.

So while the physical box for The Prevention Plan may be light, it contains the capability to track a person's top five indicators of health risks and provide research and coaching to customize a plan to help bring them into line for one year, according to the company that distributes the plan. Conditions such as high cholesterol or weight and lack of exercise can contribute to raising risk factors.

The program also assigns a number value for good test results and healthy behavior; the results of one's blood test, biometric screening and health risk appraisal are worth up to 500 points and completing recommended screenings and using online "action programs," activity tracking and participation in program activities - are worth up to 500 points.

"We're taking the science of preventative medicine and have distilled it down to an application that identifies risk factors and comes up with a plan to address those risk factors," said Kevin Kenney, chief operating officer of U.S. Preventive Medicine, developer of the plan and the company that makes its boxed version.

The $99 Sam's Club price is a perk to member-shoppers of the store, he said. If purchased online separately at www.thepreventionplan.com, it would cost $229 for a year's membership in the program, he said. Annual renewal costs the same for each, he said.

The company, based in McKinney, Texas, has been around since 2004, and most of the company's 130 employees are in the Jacksonville area near Baptist Hospital South.

The plan, touted as having been prepared by a team of clinical preventive medical experts, has been in the marketplace since 2008, Kenney said. …