Blues plan offers $20K for anti-obesity ideas


Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) is hoping to incentivize state residents to generate ideas to help reduce obesity. The insurer is offering a $20,000 reward to up to three of the best proposals. The 2012 Health Innovation Challenge, which BCBSNC announced Tuesday, asks entrepreneurs, students and other North Carolina residents to submit their obesity-reducing plans to the insurer, reported the News & Observer.

"Obesity can cripple our state in many ways, including lower productivity in our workplaces, and increasing health care costs for individuals and employers," BCBSNC spokeswoman Jennifer Hodorowicz told the Herald-Sun. "It is important to us that we find ways to address these issues, and this challenge is just one way we are looking for solutions to help improve the health of our state."

BCBSNC, which spent roughly $840 million for obesity-related conditions last year, is looking for such varied ideas as new software, devices or software applications or methods that increase access to healthier foods. However, it's not interested in ideas involving food supplements or special food diets, according to the Triangle Business Journal.

Ideas will be judged by scalability, ability to be deployed and impact on health metrics. Essentially, BCNSBC is looking for ideas that can lead to breakthrough outcomes, the Herald-Sun noted.

BCBSNC said it hopes to make the challenge an annual event.

To learn more:
- read the Herald-Sun article
- check out the News & Observer article
- see the Triangle Business Journal article

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