Health Care: Company "Wellness Programs"



Company "Wellness Programs"

Our company is about to implement a "Wellness Program," and at the same time implement a "token" increase in health care costs to the employee, with the "carrot" that if you enroll in the Wellness Program that increased health care cost will be credited back to you (we're talking less than $50 a month). My understanding (haven't got the official info yet) is that if you enter the program you'll be asked to fill out a fairly lengthy questionnaire which may/may not be joined with your blood work (if you contributed it to an annual Health Fair) to figure out whether you are High/Moderate/or Low Risk. If you are mod or high you will be handed a Wellness Plan, with stated goals that you should try to achieve (ie, if weight is an issue, it might have a "goal" of eating 5 servings of veggies a day - that's straight off the company's website that will be overseeing the program). I understand you have the OPTION after enrolling and being ranked to tell them to go take a hike - I'm doing fine, thank you, 'preciate your advice but GO AWAY. Course it's also my understanding that they also rank your "willingness to change" and I'm assuming that would plunge you to the bottom of THAT ranking.

Anyway, I'm wondering if ya'll have had experience with this kind of thing and what your Humble Opinion's are of it? I understand completely the company perspective that it should, in theory at least, decrease their health care costs over time, and I've actually looked into it quite a bit and I DO find evidence of that when the programs are instituted at organizations. I'm all for that part. But I have some REALLY serious PRIVACY concerns, for which I am being boo-hoo'd by some as "paranoid." But this smacks of Orwellian nastiness to me. I don't care how many times someone tells me it WON'T happen, prove to me that down the road you're either A) NOT going to make promotion considerations based on people's "ranking" or B) NOT going to later implement a staggered health care costs, whereby Joe who is LOW risk pays less than Tom who is HIGH risk.

Jump in folks - anxious to hear your thoughts. Am I the ONLY ONE OUT THERE WHO READ ORWELL?!?!?! :ko:


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SteelWoman said:
Jump in folks - anxious to hear your thoughts. Am I the ONLY ONE OUT THERE WHO READ ORWELL?
This kinda stuff just scares the you-know-what outta me....I say run, quickly!!! LOL



As of right this minute I'm not planning to join - it's worth the $$ to maintain my privacy. I'm just not comfy with my employer having this kind of detailed health info, even though they tell me THEY won't have it, the company that handles the Wellness Program will have it. Fine, but who PAYS THEM?!?

I'm just trying to get outside my "box" - am I just being paranoid or ?? Shut up and join because it'll save me $$ and as I've heard a dozen times, "That kind of information is 'out there' on everyone anyway..." ????

Craig H.


I don't like their approach. This is a classic misapplication of statistics if I ever saw one.

By rating everyone high, medium and low, they are making the implicit assumption that they have the ability to take ALL factors into account, and that those factors have the same impact on everyone.

So, someone a little overweight is a higher risk than someone who races cars on the weekend? Do they even ask about racing, sky diving, snow skiing, etc? Are they eventually going to take your blood sample and analyze your DNA to see if you have the heart attack (drug abuse, diabetes) gene? If not now, as you pointed out, what about later? Even if they say the info won't be used to make personnel decisions, without proof, who can say if it is a factor or not.

Saying they don't have the info is a little shaky. How well does your "grapevine" work? Where I am, the informal communications are detailed, speedy, and pretty accurate.

No, Steel, I do not think you are paranoid. Sounds more like "pragmatic" to me.



Yup, I ride a motorcycle and I understand that makes me high risk right off the bat. I guess my Wellness Plan would be SCREW the environment, drive that gas guzzler to work!! It kills us ALL (enviornmentally) but it keeps YOU healthy.
My first instinct is to trust people and think, "Good idea, and they will probably save me and the company some money."
My second instinct is to ask, "Please give me a copy of the contract between between Wellness, Inc. and so that I can have my attorney review it. I'd like to make sure that my privacy is assured, today and forever," and see what reaction I get.
Third instinct: Run, Steel, run!! Not fast enough, ride, Steel, ride!
Laughter is the best medicine.

I'll be sending you, Wellness, Inc. and all a bill. BTW, I just re-read 1984 over Labor Day weekend. Shiver me timbers!


Quite Involved in Discussions
We had a wellness program at my previous employer that consisted of:
1. discounts to different health clubs in the area
2. 100 % reimbursement for safety shoes
3. free yearly flu shots
4. monthly newsletter
5. $50.00 saving bond to pregnant mothers who visit the docter as required.
6. PSA and cholestrol screenings for $10 (actually discovered cancer in one person and saved their life).
7. Blood test(SMAC 24) for less than $10 (caught several diseases in early stages)
8. healthier food in vending area.
9. work areas with high injury (pulls and strains) had 10 min paid time for stretching.
10 3 paid sick days.


We ALREADY have most of your list in place, before the implementation of this wellness program. I understand one of the "benefits" is, for instance, let's say they determine you're diabetic (or you disclose it or whatever) the program will provide you with diabetic testing supplies... or BP cuff if you need to monitor your bp, or whatever. Don't know if that will extend to healthclub membership. More details coming, but count me still wary...
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