Author: Sorting Last Post on Top Message:
SHERYLDS Posts: 17,461
3/23/13 5:14 P

Someone mentioned not wanting to do it because of a possible illness and the company finding out....but .... the sooner someone finds out they have a medical issue, the chances for a full and quick recovery are that much greater. Not getting checkups, doesn't help in maintaining good health; being unaware of an illness , that may have been detected early on, or even prevented, gives you more 'job security', not less. As for the can probably get another job, but you may not be able to recover your health.

No one likes being forced to do anything....but people respond more when it's going to cost them out of their own pocket for not complying. Can't tell you how many companies I know where people don't take advantage of the wellness programs and continue living unhealthy habits.

RUBENB2003 Posts: 14,837
3/23/13 4:49 P

No but they have a right to encourage healthy behavior.

GEVANS7 SparkPoints: (301,872)
Fitness Minutes: (172,543)
Posts: 2,122
3/23/13 4:47 P

The tests in question are routine annual physical tests, paid for by insurance provided by the employer. I see nothing wrong with this. Having medical results released to the employer??
Extreme HIPPA law violations.

Companies have been refusing to hire smokers for 20 years so it is a whole different world. We do have a responsibility to make the most of our benefits by adhering to healthy lifestyles.

People with NO HEALTH BENEFITS have to rely on self care and prevention.

FANCYQTR Posts: 13,228
3/23/13 3:58 P

I don't think they should be allowed to require it. Like was said, companies are always providing the junk food to their employees.

If they are requiring the tests by doctors, even though they say the results remain with the doctors, they would have to get the results to the insurance company in some way. The insurance company would then, if the person had anything abnormal, would charge higher rates anyway. And the company could possibly fire someone for having abnormal results on their blood tests. I know that when I had cancer I didn't say anything to the boss where I worked because I was afraid of being fired. When I did say something she said that the job would always be there for me when I was ready to come back (insurance was not a consideration since they didn't have any). Well, when I was ready to go back to work, I got fired because it was better for the company to not have someone with cancer work for them.

That is what the mindset of company CEOs is. There was a guy working there who had diabetes (and he was NOT overweight in the slightest) who was fired from the other jobs he had. I think he also got fired from the place I was working back then.

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,294
3/23/13 1:18 P

I suppose using the "stick" approach is cheaper for the company, as opposed to the "carrot" (incentives) approach. It's not uncommon for companies to charge higher health insurance premiums for smokers. And not necessarily offer much if anything in help to quit smoking.

While anyone can get diabetes, 85% of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. Being overweight/obese also increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, certain cancers (breast, colon, endometrial, kidney), non-alcoholic fatty liver, osteoarthritis.

In 2008, medical costs associated with obesity are estimated to have been $147 billion.

So perhaps it's the latest "wave" in trying to rein in insurance and health care costs; if people won't look at the statistics or listen to their doctors, and make some changes-- perhaps hitting them in their wallets might do it.

Edited by: MISSRUTH at: 3/23/2013 (13:20)
SWIMLOVER SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (23,689)
Posts: 12,292
3/23/13 2:12 A

I think they should support Healthy Behavior and give people encouragement toward having Healthy Behavior. I do not think they should force it.

200POUNDQUEST SparkPoints: (2,468)
Fitness Minutes: (1,201)
Posts: 205
3/23/13 2:10 A

I would say that yes, they most likely have the "right" to do it, but just because you can do something, doesn't always mean you should.

I think carrot approaches are better and I totally agree with Bunnykicks about making the work environment more health friendly as being the best thing a company truly interested in improving employee health could do.

The corporation I worked for would put up posters and bring in someone to give flu shots every time the flu was going around, but they didn't pay for the shots and they made it very hard on people to take a sick day, so we always had people coming in to work sick and getting everyone else sick.

They allowed some employees to set up a "wellness committee" but they provided no financial support. They brought in some rep from weight watchers and the cost to have group meetings on site was ridiculous. They gave us a free gym membership, but when people tried to go on their lunch break they were constantly penalized for arriving back a minute or two late.

Meanwhile, they forbid us from getting up from our desks to get our own printing or copies or go talk to a co-worker versus emailing or calling. They monitored our every minute, even bathroom breaks and if you spent too much time not at your desk you were written up for it.

They pretty much demanded 60 - 70 hour work weeks and if you needed to see the doctor for whatever reason you were expected to try and go on the weekend or after hours. Plus it was a very high stress environment, which the management constantly fed.

So, it would be kind of a slap in the face for that kind of company that promotes a very unhealthy work environment to turn around say ok, you have to be healthy or pay.

I think in general, we are too willing to accept poor working conditions in the name of having a job. My health has improved tremendously since I got out of that cess pool.

SPERRIN2012 SparkPoints: (181,188)
Fitness Minutes: (122,983)
Posts: 17,742
3/22/13 8:18 P

If they do, they're only trying to help

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,461
3/22/13 7:58 P

The company's requirement, mentioned in the article, was directed to ALL EMPLOYEES, not just those with weight problems.

Any body type, from slim to morbidly obese, can develop some form of diabetes. And if someone is a borderline pre-diabetic, due to bad eating, they still have a chance to correct things and change their future.

On a lot of other threads, I've read people expressing annoyance at their doctors for suggesting they needed to lose weight, and others angry when their physician didn't mention it. And a lot of people take a DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL attitude with weight issues, even if they KNOW they have a problem. Some people get indignant about being told by their doctor that they need to do something, as if it is obvious and insults their intelligence being told.

No one wants to be told how to live...but I wonder how many people might be forced out of DENIAL if they HAD to get a checkup.

HOT40ISHBABE Posts: 121
3/22/13 12:10 P

No they should not. I'm so tired of government and companies telling me what's best for me. If I don't know by now, I'm an idiot. It's a choice. There are consequences, but stay out of my healthcare.

BARBWMS Posts: 1,396
3/22/13 12:02 P

It's tricky. I would rather see carrot incentives to improve health.. subsidize health clubs, offer onsite exercise or yoga classes, etc.....

Bottom line is that obesity leads to ill health, which raises everyone's insurance rates... my school district's premiums are going up 24 percent next year...

But privacy is privacy, and there are lots of unhealthy activities that people engage in that don't always show up in weight.... so there is an inherent unfairness in some programs.

BLUENOSE63 SparkPoints: (108,021)
Fitness Minutes: (82,255)
Posts: 2,954
3/22/13 9:14 A

No I don't think they have the right to do that -- what they should do is subsidize a workplace health initiative ie. discount at health clubs, the YMCA, invite Weight Watchers to come in once a week....

Really people are not motivated by threats yet if they offered them a bonus for maintaining or bettering health that would work better

Just a thought

MIAMI_LILLY SparkPoints: (196,664)
Fitness Minutes: (81,671)
Posts: 9,606
3/22/13 9:06 A

Seems like blatant discrimination to me.

MASHAMOO Posts: 1,667
3/22/13 8:57 A

It depends.

If the company does not get access to the records, and if the company is providing creditable health coverage at a reasonable cost to the employee, then I think the company has the right to "encourage" or "incentivize" what it sees as healthy behavior.

If, however, the company is getting a tax break from the government for providing insurance, or the insurance provided does not meet minimum standards, or the company has access to ANY of the records, then I think it's unreasonable and unethical.

SHANSDOINIT79 SparkPoints: (7,003)
Fitness Minutes: (3,382)
Posts: 240
3/21/13 8:05 P

Its ok for companies to encourage healthy behavior but its wrong to force it upon employees. Period.

VICTORY2XS SparkPoints: (43,402)
Fitness Minutes: (29,720)
Posts: 1,471
3/21/13 7:25 P

I don't think so. I don't think it would be fair to judge by outward appearance what we are capable of doing on the job.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
3/21/13 7:22 P

I really am torn, too...

I mean... "it would be helpful for the individual" so that is a "good" thing....


Oh... I don't know... It DOES bother me that a company can put in a policy to "not hire smokers" - why not!!!!? If they don't smoke at work/near the public working areas, who cares? Does it affect their ability to do their job? Or is it merely a "this group tends to have more time lost" sort of thing? In which case... so do young women (who tend to get pregnant). I REALLY don't want to see a return to the bad old days where employers could discriminate against potential new hires based on "aw they'll probably take too much sick time/mat leave/etc."

And that's kind of what this "feels" like - not an "insurance" issue alone, but an entire "employability" issue. Unless the few healthy-thin-nonsmoking-males want to support the other 95% of us, we better not restrict "who is allowed to work here and under what conditions" too much.....

Edited by: BUNNYKICKS at: 3/21/2013 (19:23)
JASTAMPER11 SparkPoints: (57,593)
Fitness Minutes: (35,465)
Posts: 2,323
3/21/13 6:41 P

No they don't...if they did I would not have to be weighed and judged by a fat nurse in the dr office

RONIGH Posts: 631
3/21/13 5:31 P

I guess companies should not force healthy behavior. They should encourage it. They can have a cafeteria that serves only healthy food. They can also have a gym on premises, have company sport teams, and organize health & fitness related seminars for their employees.

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,461
3/21/13 5:18 P

most major corporations do require entrance physicals before hiring ... and some even require an annual physical when you reach a certain age. I've worked for some corporations which did not hire smokers. Before being officially hired, a lot of companies require that you get checked out by THEIR choice of doctor (I assume to insure that the info is unbiased). Who knows what info gets passed.

on one hand...forcing people to get checked out insures that they are at least made aware of their health status, so that they can do something if necessary. They aren't necessarily just requiring overweight people to do it.
On the other hand, a lot of folks are paranoid about finding out if there is a problem and then worried that the info will be conveyed to their company and endanger their job status. And some people think ignorance is bliss...because then they don't have to do anything about it.

when it comes to something like can affect anyone.
It's not necessarily weight related.

Personally...I think it is safer to know if you have a problem,
so you can do something about it...
especially since this concerns people who HAVE health insurance.
If they have the choice to go to their own Doctor...why not?

I just don't like the idea of PENALIZING someone who won't go...
but for some that might be the only way to force them to get checked

I'm torn

Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 3/21/2013 (17:22)
CARTOON3 SparkPoints: (36,232)
Fitness Minutes: (14,372)
Posts: 2,677
3/21/13 4:43 P

It is getting crazy. I think places of employment should not be able to tell a person what they need to do health wise.

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
3/21/13 4:40 P

No, they should not have the right to do anything of the sort. Our privacy and personal freedoms are slowly being eroded...

How far will it go? Who knows, really. I don't. But...

They start by charging you more if you don't get these things measured (supposedly, the data never leaves the doctor's office). Next step, they refuse to pay for any part of your health insurance if you do not. Next step, you lose you job for not doing this. Somewhere along the line, they actually start collecting this data at your workplace and penalizing you for the actual numbers. Next step, they start requiring this screening before your job interview (like a drug test). Overweight people need not apply. Next step, they start screening for other things (chronic illnesses which may or may not be due to lifestyle). Then, they start looking at your personal life, looking for risk factors which may lead you to be at higher risk for certain diseases. They start asking about your sex many partners have you had? Ever been treated for a STD? Ever had a blood transfusion? Are you at risk for something like HIV or some other sexually transmitted disease? Next step, they start requiring genetic screening so they can see if you have any genetic risk factors for disease. Pretty soon, the company you work for has all your medical records. To have they pay for any part of your medical insurance or maybe to even have a job, you must be perfectly healthy with few to no risk factors for disease. Maybe they'll even start requiring you to submit your grocery receipts to them or swipe a card every time you buy food or submit your bank records so they can see if you're eating at McDonalds...

I know it may sound far-fetched and things like this may or may not ever happen. But, I have to wonder if it could. I'll bet you that a lot of employers would like it to happen.

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 3/21/2013 (16:41)
JGIRL5799 Posts: 561
3/21/13 1:25 P

haha bunnykicks you are soo right!!!

At our hospital they have junk vendor machines with everything but then they want us to be healthy..

Then the pot lucks.. everything FRIED or high fat/ carbs..

Edited by: JGIRL5799 at: 3/21/2013 (13:26)
SHERYLDS Posts: 17,461
3/21/13 12:49 P

I absolutely agree BUNNYKICKS....
and I am sure that the new company health concern originated out of financial interest more than anything else....
but at least it might result in some employees actually acknowledging they might have a problem...and doing something because them may fear they'll lose their jobs if they don't.
{personally....I would rather reward people towards doing the right thing, than threaten them}.

As for donuts, vending machines, and unhealthy work lunches.....
that's one aspect the companies need to address and they will probably respond that employees aren't forced to use them, and it's freedom of choice, and
that the employees themselves stock their desks with junk food.

Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 3/21/2013 (12:50)
BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
3/21/13 12:12 P

The next thing I will say, is - companies really need to look at the mixed messages they are sending.

On the one hand, "healthy healthy - get screened by doctor - don't be fat, or you'll cost us all more money!"

On the other hand:
- junk food and soda vending machines in the lobby
- chained-to-the-desk sedentary "cubicle" jobs
- fitness room and showers in the workplace? ha! "we can't afford to put a gym in!"
- donuts in the lunchroom. "to show our appreciation!"

If employers REALLY want employees to embrace a healthier lifestyle, they would be better off to consider changing the work environment so that it was more conducive to activity and better food choices.

NWFL59 Posts: 6,141
3/21/13 12:06 P

I don't think they have a right to force better lifestyle choices on their employees but then I also don't think they're obligated to enable those harmful choices either.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
3/21/13 12:02 P

I think these sorts of programs work better as "incentives for doing something" and not "penalties for failing to do something."

As for the "right" - hoooboy, that is a prickly issue. It depends on how you feel about "shared costs." It's the same sort of issue as "should airline tickets be priced by weight - the heavier you are, the more it costs to fly you, therefore the more you should pay" vs "one seat, one individual, one price."

The thing that bothers me about it, is, it ASSUMES that the INDIVIDUAL heavier-person WILL cost more due to their INEVITABLE poorer health than the normal-weight person. But that just isn't reality. For example - I have 40 sick-days banked; my very slim co-worker, who was hired at the same time as me, has NONE. My own doctor recently advised me to really think about exercise - because "overweight but fit" people have better health outcomes than "slim but sedentary" people. Yet, is anyone required to get screened for "sedentary-ness?" No.

Sure, the actuarial tables will say that overall-as-a-group, "the obese" will incur more medical expenses. But - isn't this about "Those who use more, pay more?" Within the grouping, "The Obese," will be people who use LESS.

So on the one hand these policies are saying "those who incur more costs should pay more" as a justification for charging an obese person higher premiums... (a very INDIVIDUAL approach)... but on the other hand it's saying "even though you, as an individual obese person, may have demonstrated ongoing good health and low usage of medical services, you still have to pay more, as you, as part of The Obese, must chip in to support the overall larger medical costs of The Obese (a GROUP approach).

Yeah, if we want it to be "user pay" on the premiums because it is "only fair" that "those who use more services pay more" - then what the individual pays really does have to be based on their PERSONAL usage of services.

I can somewhat accept this "you must be screened by the doctor" approach if EVERY EMPLOYEE, as a routine part of obtaining employer-paid health premiums, was required to be health-screened.

But I can see a VERY slippery-slope...

JOYFUL452003 SparkPoints: (64,779)
Fitness Minutes: (58,881)
Posts: 920
3/21/13 11:41 A

NO... I do think that they should encourage healthy living and maybe offer incentives for being healthy

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,461
3/21/13 11:35 A

Again the companies say

Most companies require employee's to pay some portion of the health benefits,
so in many ways the added costs of health care due to people not taking care of themselves, is shared by everyone, not just the employee who doesn't take care of themselves.

So... if they don't monitor their health....
should they pay a higher cost towards their health benefit, since they are putting themselves at higher risk for not knowing and doing something about it.???????

Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 3/21/2013 (11:36)
REDSHOES2011 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (66,181)
Posts: 7,159
3/21/13 11:05 A

The door swings both ways, they don't have the right to force healthy behaviour but if your sick all the time should all other co-workers work their ass off because of again again and again the same people phone in ill..

I don't get sick very often but if you get 3 people phoning in sick each day because they don't look efter themselfs - the stable people eventually crack because they can't handle the pressure..

A employer should be able to sit people down and lay facts on the table in respect to the rest of the team.. Many companies are teams and a good employer should be able to even cover this subject without people getting ticked off for the good of the whole business firm or organisations sake..

Edited by: REDSHOES2011 at: 3/21/2013 (11:14)
DUBLINROSE Posts: 2,757
3/21/13 11:01 A

No, I hate the idea of anyone trying to micro manage my life

3/21/13 10:57 A

I don't think it's anyone's right to be my keeper. There are too many gray areas with the idea of companies being watchdogs over employee health issues. Not all employees are going to fit the "healthy standard weight charts" and "ideal measurements," etc. Does this always mean that they are a risk?

The most recent issue which ruffled my feathers was a highly publicized company not wanting to pay for health insurance for those considering or using birth control because of the company executives' religion. So now I'm expected to detail my sex-life to my employers??!

I don't consider my company knowing my weight and measurements, plus plus, confidentiality of my medical records.

I am tired of being expected to accept intrusive behavior by employers (et al), and I consider this arrogant greed an infringement on my so called "freedom."


Sorry, but this is a sore subject for me, even though I have never been forced to choose.

GRIZ1GIRL SparkPoints: (197,400)
Fitness Minutes: (256,662)
Posts: 2,243
3/21/13 10:56 A

Sometimes it's about the trade-off...are you willing to pay more money for health insurance just to make a statement? Or do you just go through the weighing & whatnot & get that HUGE benefit of paid-for health insurance?!?

Only you can make the determination....and remember, nobody said life was fair. It just is what it is.

JGIRL5799 Posts: 561
3/21/13 10:30 A

I worked for a a hospital for 10 years and the last few years not only did the FORCE you to get the flu shots ( I work from home) They also required you to go through their health system with the work up and everything.. if you did it you got a huge huge discount for the health insurance premiums...
if you refused you got put on their highest health insurance policy and high deductible. If you refused the flu shot, you automatically lost your job and got fired.. Come to say I left that hospital and now working for contracts which do not require such ridiculous things.

I do not think it is right for companies to do that, however, I guess it makes a difference because do you really wish to hire people that are sick and unhealthy?

It is bad enough about the government getting involved with the health thing and insurance but having the work? If I have to do testing, then all the medicaid and government issue food stamp people need to do the same thing as well, but I only find this matter getting worse as more major companies jumping on board doing the same thing to their employees.

It is like we are loosing our personal rights to everything and it will only get worse.

Edited by: JGIRL5799 at: 3/21/2013 (10:32)
MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,530
3/21/13 10:02 A

I think it would go over a lot easier if they told employees that when you provide this information you get a discount. Instead of saying. You better provide this information or you will pay.

Come to think of it. When you go to the doctor. They gather this information every time, right.

TIG123GER SparkPoints: (77,547)
Fitness Minutes: (17,448)
Posts: 2,116
3/21/13 9:52 A

I think it depends on who pays for the insurance. If the company pays for the employee's insurance, they have the right because they could maybe negotiate lower rates based on good health (my husband's company pays for his insurance 100%), but if the employee pays, then no I don't think they have any part of that. It's just like if your child lives in your house and has to obey your rules or move out and pay for themselves if they want freedom.

LOSTLIME SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (21,430)
Posts: 19,221
3/21/13 9:45 A

Wanting their employees to be healthy is one thing. I don't think that any company should force people to watch their weight. Then it brings up other issues like can they afford the tests,etc. So no I don't think so.

JANUT57 SparkPoints: (275,805)
Fitness Minutes: (89,554)
Posts: 88,092
3/21/13 9:14 A


MARTYJOE Posts: 428
3/21/13 9:12 A

I think companies should encourage healthy behavior by promoting wellness but to enforce it I'm not really sure. I think that if a person doesn't want to participate in healthy behavior the company should be able to be compensated for the health care premiums

3/21/13 9:07 A

Private companies do, government jobs don't.

DIDS70 Posts: 5,368
3/21/13 8:59 A

My company penalizes the smoker. They have $600 added to their premiums. They also offer nursing services. If you are chosen and speak to the nurse 4 times in a calendar year, I get a $300 benefit off next years premium.

However if you look at this way, the company may not be able to force you to do things, but it really is in your best interest. less money out of your pocket for copays and prescriptions. I haven't seen a doctor because I was sick in over two years. i go for the blood test, but just found out that my Chiropractor can order the same tests and insurance will still pay for it.

CHEETARA79 Posts: 3,919
3/21/13 8:45 A

I think if you phrased the situation differently, people would be more receptive. If you think of the employees who get the health screening as getting a discount on their insurance then it seems pretty awesome.

LWLAR7 Posts: 9,164
3/21/13 8:42 A


ADAPTOR Posts: 1,831
3/21/13 8:42 A

I think if you think of it not so much as a penalty to those who don't do it but as a benefit (or discount or incentive) to those who do participate than it does make sense in a lot of ways. So it is not really being forced but rather incentivized. We all benefit in the long run if people are healthier because all of our insurance rates go up when insurance companies start having to pay out.

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,461
3/21/13 8:41 A

Lots of companies sponsor weight loss groups & gyms to help employees voluntarily lose weight and get healthy....
a percentage of companies are now forcing employees to monitor their health or the PENALIZE them for NOT participating.

The company's Health insurance costs are on the rise...obesity and weight related issues are blamed for a lot of issues. And loss of productivity due to illness, costs the company.

do companies have the right to force you to monitor your health emoticon

Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 3/21/2013 (08:59)
WILSON1926 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (33,881)
Posts: 1,833
3/21/13 8:40 A


SWEETNHOT Posts: 526
3/21/13 8:21 A

I think giving insuance discounts is a good idea, just like safe driver discounts, it encouages people to try and live healthier. And if you choose not to then you can pay for your choice. Why not do it, it is a win win. But again not force it just give the option.Give employees a chioce.

FAITHP44 Posts: 8,714
3/21/13 8:11 A

In one sense it seems Big Brotherish - then again, if it's health insurance and they've got to pay for anything that goes wrong, maybe it's not so unreasonable. Like car insurance goes up if a person's prone to accidents or a high risk factor for some other reason, I guess health insurance people want to know if a person's high risk.

MLAN613 Posts: 18,849
3/21/13 7:45 A

I work for a United HealthGroup company and they do offer money to offset insurance premium costs if you do certain things like get your biometrics measured and such. It is not required but it benefits you to do it. I actually used their wellness coaches because I am over weight right now. The coaching sessions were useless but oh well. I got the money.

Again, UHG doesn't require it. If you don't do it, you pay full price for your premiums.

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,461
3/21/13 7:36 A

to take part in the company-sponsored health insurance , CVS Pharmacy employees are now REQUIRED to have their weight, body fat and glucose levels screened by their doctors.
if they do not, their premiums may go up $600 a year. that's $50 a month.
in a statement, cvs says the
that the goal is to help employees improve their health and manage health-associated costs. right idea, say some, but the wrong approach.

in a survey of companies 8% used financial penalties to motivate healthy behavior. last year the number jumped to 20%. employers use two different strategies to encourage participation.
some, like cvs , use what might be considered the stick approach.

do companies have the right to use financial penalties to motivate healthy behavior,
even if it's just kept between the patient and the doctor

read more (see the transcript at the bottom of the page)

Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 3/21/2013 (08:35)
Page: 1 of (1)   1

Other SparkPeople Cafe Topics:

Topics: Last Post:
Hi!I'm Back! 3/8/2016 12:58:24 AM
weekend 7/24/2016 3:37:32 AM
Help - Technical Issues! 6/23/2016 4:11:41 PM
dont look back 1/24/2016 12:22:29 AM
walking up and down stairs. 11/11/2016 2:46:19 AM