It's not a new law that allows employers to require you to take a wellness screening to get your full health insurance benefits. And it's not new that they can charge you more if you don't meet their prescribed health standards based on body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and more.
But according to the New York Observer, Obama's Affordable Care Act allows employers to charge employees up to 30% more for their health care coverage as opposed the to the previously-allowed 20%. Some people have said enough is enough.
Professor emeritus Timothy S. Jost of Washington and Lee University’s School of Law commented that "Employers like to control the lives of their employees.”
Society for Human Resource Management manager of compensation and benefits Bruce Elliott says "I absolutely do think (wellness screenings are) a good thing. Depending on how your plan is structured, it can incentivize or de-incentivize you."
A Society for Human Resource Management survey says that 72% of respondents in 2014 found the incentives "somewhat effective" or "very effective."
Yet Obesity Action Coalition chairman Ted Kyle feels they could lead to fat discrimination. He believes that body weight is not as easy to change as other factors scored in the wellness screenings, like drug and alcohol use or exercise habits.
He also argues that, "There are plenty of employers that are trying to do something good, but there are some that are using (wellness programs) as a tool for shifting costs to people with chronic diseases.”
Others bring up privacy issues with revealing your health information to your employer. Questions on some health assessments range from "How many hours do you sleep at night?" to "Are you happy in your marriage?"
Do you think it's fair or unfair to require wellness screenings for full benefits and to penalize people with up to 30% more costs?