UnitedHealth Group Inc. saved more than $100 million in medical costs over three years by using incentives to persuade its employees to get healthier.

Nearly 80 percent of its employees reduced their family insurance premiums by losing weight and meeting certain other health goals in just the first year of the program. Twenty-seven percent achieved the highest possible savings, cutting their premiums by $1,200.

The largest health carrier in the U.S. employs 133,000 workers. Its program identified 7,200 people who were at high risk for diseases, including diabetes, but hadn't been diagnosed.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.