POSTED: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 7:05pm
UPDATED: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 12:40pm
We all know what’s happening to health care costs, whatever the ultimate results of Obamacare bring.
One thing it does allow is employer incentives for better employee health.
So, how far should employers go to keep insurance costs down?
The Rhode Island-based CVS Caremark company told all employees who use the company insurance plan they must have a doctor determine their weight, height, body fat, blood pressure, glucose and fasting lipid levels by may first or pay a higher premium for their health insurance.
The penalty for not reporting these numbers, 600-dollars a year added to their insurance premiums.
Law professor Dr. John Banzhaff says, it’s a very free enterprise solution.
“You know, under our free enterprise system,” he says, “it’s a better thing to do to let decisions regarding hiring, firing, promotions and so on, be made by tens of thousands of individual employers rather than a few, what we call, pointy-headed bureaucrats here in Washington.”
And the direct medical cost of obesity in America is $147-billion a year, 9% of all medical bills.
In a statement, CVS Caremark says the move is designed to help colleagues engage more actively to improve their health and manage health-associated costs.
The company also states that all personal health information will be collected and reviewed by a third party and the information is never shared with CVS Caremark.
Good Shepherd Medical center in Longview has such a policy.
“Our health care claims did increase significantly this past year,” says Ginger morrow, VP of Human Resources. “And as you know, the national average for health care inflation is 12%. So, this initiative was put in place to curtail those costs and hopefully, and again, improve our employee’s health and well being.”
And the employee reaction?
“Initially the employees felt that we were making them participate and work out,” she told us. “But really, they had options. They were incentivized by lower health insurance premiums.”
Banzhaff dismisses the concerns over privacy.
“Oh, I can give you dozens of examples where things that people do in their own time, nevertheless have an impact on their businesses and therefore are regulated,” Branzhaf says.
C-V-S says it will pay for the screenings.
They also say that 79% of large companies and groups like the Alabama Public School system require such screenings.