I recently found out there are talks to change my health care provider and to introduce penalty based incentives to prove you are healthy enough for health care. (A plan similar to needing to be thin to use the gym.) One of the penalty incentives floating around was that the person had to prove they exercised.
I had to snicker about that one. I do most of my exercise on my own and I wondered how I could prove it. Have my husband follow me around with a camera?
What they really mean is the increasing costs of providing health care are cutting into profits. If we can get rid of people who may potentially get sick and have to use more health care, that increases profits. It's the sort of logic only an MBA can love.
When people had to choose between paying up to 20 percent more for health insurance or exercising more, the majority of enrollees met fitness goals one step at a time via an Internet-tracked walking program...
In other words, your job owns your life if you want affordable health insurance from them. If you are deemed "unhealthy" (i.e. fat or a smoker) your life will be looked into even after you punch out.
Blue Care Network created a buzz when it implemented one of the largest-scaled financial incentive programs in the country by requiring adults who were obese and in the Healthy Blue Living program to enroll in a fitness program to qualify for lower out-of-pocket health care costs. Enrollees could choose between several programs, including Weight Watchers and WalkingSpree, which uses a digital pedometer to upload walking data on a wellness tracking web site.
Transation: if you're a thin person who eats poorly and doesn't exercise, you won't lose your free time or your right to privacy and you don't have to pay anything extra. And if you are a smoker who lies, then you do can enjoy the affordable medical benefits of being thin. Sorry to say I can't pass for thin. And all the healthy habits I incorporated into my life after I stopped dieting will be meaningless because I am still fat.
This has nothing at all to do with health. These companies don't care if you get healthy, they care about making money. They want to make sure they have cheap labor that won't get sick.
And Weight Watchers. That's what they consider healthy? A DIET program that has an average weight loss of 6 pounds. Where are the long term studies proving Weight watchers and WalkingSpree will make people thin in the long run? (Hint, there aren't any.)
These workplace wellness programs save such small amounts of money, it's better to just keep things they way they were. There's no privacy or penality issues in offering discounts on gym memberships, offering fitness class and so on. I don't care if you can get a discount on Weight Watchers, I just don't want to be forced to join it to keep my health insurance premiums from skyrocketing.
The report's conclusions about the financial benefits of workplace wellness programs are also grim. In theory, the programs should reduce medical spending as employees become healthier and thereby avoid expensive conditions such as heart disease, cancer and stroke.
In fact, workers who participated in a wellness program had healthcare costs averaging $2.38 less per month than non-participants in the first year of the program and $3.46 less in the fifth year. Those modest savings were not statistically significant, meaning they could have been due to chance and not to the program.
The issue here isn't making employees healthy, this is a continuation of the dieting scam. For the last 30 years Americans have been dieting and gaining more weight. And they are starting to get to the point that people are becoming more accepting that not everyone belongs in the 19.5 - 24.5 BMI cookie cutter. Even thought dieting is still a 60 billion industry, most of it is DIY dieting which means that people just might be looking at dietary changes rather than weight loss.
So if people are no longer dieting, then I guess we'll have to be forced to.