survey released by Fidelity Investments and the
National Business Group on Health, 15% of employers need employees to undergo
biometric screening. In general - employees have to undergo blood tests to
screen blood sugar and cholesterol, take their weight and waist measurements.
"There are some companies saying, 'gee, we're spending an awful lot on health
care, we would like you to do certain things,'" says Adam Stavisky, a Fidelity
3% of the employers said they would cut benefits of
employees who did not complete the screenings. Benefit experts feel that it is
not wrong to expect workers to fill these criteria as this is part of a routine
health check and people can work towards a healthier future, once they know how
they fare health wise.
"It's something that everybody needs to have
for their own sake," says Helen Darling, president and CEO of the NBGH. "The
people who might claim that they are discriminated against would be the very
people you'd want to have a primary care physician, and talking to doctors and
screenings are soon becoming the mainstay of modern corporate programs; almost
40% of employers want to tie biometric measurements to premiums or health
incentives. A third of the companies reward employees for lowering their
cholesterol or blood pressure and dropping weight.
are worried with the practice of "outcomes-based
incentives" as it sums up to insurance underwriting and decreases access to
health care, which in turn would defeat the purpose of The Affordable Health
Care. . "There's real concern that if people perceive some of the new
incentives rules as penalizing people for their health behaviors, then that
could actually distance people from accessing health care," says Paul Terry,
CEO of Stay Well, an employer wellness company that administers biometric
who want to charge premiums based on biometric tests must also legally allow
employees who fail the tests to pay the same amount by providing a doctor's
note or enroll themselves in a program to achieve their goal. They can get the
same benefits by participating in health programs.
Well recommends that companies should reward people for taking the biometric
tests and setting realistic targets.
than simply saying hit the outcome or else," Terry says, "Why wouldn't we say
to employees, show us some progress that you're moving in the right direction
in order to achieve the reward?"
Hannah Punitha (IRDA
Licence Number: 2710062)
Jen Wieczner, MarketWatch