New App Rewards Your ‘Healthy Actions’ with Money Off Wellness Brands

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The Ness Rewards app allows users to earn points for actions such as going to the gym or doing regular checkups. They can then exchange points earned for offers with associated brands. Westend61 / Getty Images
  • A new app promises to reward people for “healthy actions” they already take, such as exercise.
  • Points earned through the Ness Rewards app can be exchanged for popular wellness brands.
  • Users will also have access to wellness experts such as dietitians and health coaches.
  • The company is launching a set of credit cards to help users earn even more points.
  • Experts say that apps like Ness can be useful tools in your quest for better health.

Would you like to be rewarded for doing the things you know you should do anyway to take care of yourself, such as exercising and visiting your doctor?

While the health benefits of doing these things should be a reward enough, surely it wouldn’t hurt to have a little extra money to spend on healthy groceries or an exercise class, right?

To help with your wellness efforts, fintech company Ness has now launched the Ness Rewards app.

Ness says its new app will allow people to earn points for “healthy actions” they are already doing, such as doing regular checkups and going to the gym.

The points obtained can be exchanged for their associated welfare marks.

Among the many well-known brands they are working with are Barry’s Bootcamp, Sweetgreen and Thrive Market.

They also acquired WellSet, a provider of virtual holistic wellness classes. WellSet has a network of 4,000 health coaches, doulas, dietitians, and therapists that can be accessed using your points.

In addition, Ness is creating a set of credit cards to help its customers accumulate rewards faster.

Future plans include medical benefit offerings, supplemental insurance, and comprehensive health insurance.

Derek Flanzraich, former CEO and founder of Greatist, which was acquired by Healthline Media in 2019, says he started Ness because he was frustrated that his insurance provider did not pay for therapy visits during the pandemic.

As a result, it was decided to make welfare more accessible and accessible to all.

Greatist was created to take care of the accessibility part and now Ness will help reduce the costs of staying well.

“Ultimately, we see credit cards as the best platform for consumers to get health insurance that will stay with them for 30 to 40 years, not just 3 to 4,” Flanzraich explained.

“When we can justify investing in long-term health right now, that will lead to a healthier society with fully aligned health plan incentives for the first time.”

Behnaz Bojd, PhD, assistant professor at UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business, said he heard about the Ness app through an Instagram fitness influencer still called Megan Roup and thought it was “a very interesting idea.”

She considers it very likely to be effective.

“There are research findings that show that financial incentives can motivate people to adopt healthy behaviors like going to the gym,” he noted.

She says there may be some drawbacks, however. For example, people who are not interested in Ness’s well-being partners may be less motivated to use it. In addition, people who are already satisfied with their current health insurance may be less inclined to use it.

She suggests expanding the number of retailers available to redeem points or having a point refund or donation feature can encourage even more people to use the app.

She believes that since we are social beings, incentives such as the ability to receive likes and share images can also be good motivational tools.

However, Bojd warns that while external incentives such as points may be a good way to boost your well-being, research indicates that in the long run people need to have their own internal motivation to stay engaged.

Anamara Ritt-Olson, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of Training and Engagement for the CERES Network in the UC Irvine Public Health Program, was a little more tentative.

“There are tons of lovely apps out there, but attracting people to use them and keep using them is a big challenge that few apps do well,” he said.

She expressed concern that Ness appears to be designed to increase consumerism rather than change behavior.

“I haven’t seen any data to support that spending money on‘ healthier brands ’leads to a healthier lifestyle,” he said. “But that being said, if you can lower the barriers to participating in a healthier lifestyle, that’s a wonderful goal.”

Ritt-Olson agrees with Bojd that it’s important to have motivation outside of an app to achieve your wellness goals.

“A healthy lifestyle does not depend on any application. They are just tools. The most effective means of achieving well-being and a healthier lifestyle means connecting with a trusted doctor and developing a personalized plan for you and your needs.” said.

However, she points out that there are some really good apps she uses personally, including MyFitnessPal to track activity and food intake, the Calm app to reduce stress, and Open for mind and body workouts.

He also agrees with Bojd that friends can be good influences in our wellness efforts.

“A text to go hiking or go to the gym takes me more than any application,” he explained.

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