Employee Wellness Programs & Health Insurance

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fatflickrFatty HR writes,

I work for a private company that is going to start penalizing employers through a premium increase if said employers don’t provide vital statistics to the insurance co.’s website.  Plus, you have to gain so many points through exercise to avoid the raise in payment.  There is concern over this amongst everyone, and personally I think it is a violation of personal liberties.  I came across your site by doing a random search on this subject and saw at least one of your articles on this issue.  Do you have any recommendations on where to start research to show that Wellness Plans do not work and that they are more or less a scam? PS — I’ve been doing some research and noticed that some of this nonsense complies with HIPAA — as far as I understand it.  Still does not make it right in my book.

Fatty, I feel for you.

Look around and tell me if you think wellness plans are working. Are people getting healthier? Thinner? Better looking? No way. If anything, we’re all fatter and sweatier. I’m including myself in the bunch. I almost had a heart attack putting away my groceries, the other night, which included two bags of Utz Chips.

Wellness plans are a temporary, short-term solution. They may lower insurance rates; however, most statistics in medical journals and business magazines are provided by the healthcare industry. We will never know the truth because there’s too much money invested in keeping you on statins, creating a national food policy that revolves around empty carbohydrates & high-fructose corn syrup, and making you feel bad about being fat.

If I were in your shoes, I would consider contacting the ACLU to see if there are existing lawsuits in this space. I would also find a better benefits broker who can offer your company a decent insurance plan without this garbage.

Want another short-term solution to fight the insanity? Tell your employees to lie.

People exercise, eat right, and still drop dead from all kinds of ailments. Why can’t your workforce just say they’re exercising and eating right without actually doing it?

  • When a nurse practitioner from the wellness program calls and asks you if you’ve been getting 45 minutes of cardio more than 3x/week, you say yes.
  • When you are asked if there is enough fiber in your diet, you say yes.
  • When the doctor prescribes Lipitor and wonders why your cholesterol isn’t lower, you shrug your shoulders. Who knows? Bodies are weird.

Personally, if I were an employee at your company, I would lie and pretend like I’m trying to get healthy. Then I would eat like a sumo wrestler and have all kinds of elective surgery covered under the terms and conditions of the insurance plan. I recommend that your employees have every mole removed on their bodies. Fix those hemorrhoids. See the the foot doctor and remove those ugly bunions.

If your employees are smart, they will do anything under the sun to make sure that their insurance costs increase in 2010 under this stupid and unsavory plan. It’s the only way to send a message.

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