Skip to comments.Reasons why I should not do a biometric health screening?
Posted on 03/17/2013 9:45:28 PM PDT by Catechuman
Completing a biometric health screening is a good way to gauge where you are on your health spectrum and what you can work on to improve your health. As part of XXXs Wellness efforts, you and your covered spouse or partner will need to complete this required screening by March 31, 2013 to avoid a surcharge.
As fairly newbie here, I appreciate the wise counsel from all the silverbacks ;)
I’ve seen the word “biometric” tossed around a lot, but it always seems like a buzzword. Can they tell you what this screening involves, and how that’s different from a regular checkup?
Lots on the web about this, but I haven’t had any personal experience with it.
Don’t you care about your health?
I broke this down into paragraphs to make it easier to read, but for some reason the editor didn’t take it.
The biometric health screenings will test for five major health risk factors:
Weight/height calculation (BMI)
Blood sugar levels
Two of the FAQ’s
1. Is this required by “Insurance Company name” or “my employer name?”
“My employer name “ is asking associates to know their numbers this year to help control health risks for the future. It is required in order to not have a penalty of $30 per person per pay period.
4. What legislation is it that now authorizes a Healthcare provider or an employer to charge a $30 per paycheck penalty for non-compliance of this requirement?
Under the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), wellness programs such as XXXs can provide an incentive or penalty (surcharge) up to 20% of the associates premium cost for participation or non-participation. This amount may increase to up to 50% in 2014. Of course, we make sure the information obtained remains confidential as protected under HIPAA rights.
They don’t even answer the first FAQ and with the last one it sounds like the costs will only increase.
It is likely at this time that there would be minimal consequences for doing that assessmnet; however, at some point in time, they may be able to mandate "wellness" activities (of their choosing) if you don't have the correct readings here.
For example, if your BMI is too high, you could be mandated to enter a weight loss program. (The opportunity costs could be increased premiums or the loss of your job).
Unrealistic? The Armed Forces have, for decades, had a mandatory biometric measurement program for their uniformed members (known as the "fat boy" program). Exceeding the maximum acceptable range is cause for losing pay and eventually being administratively discharged under less than honorable conditions.
I could see that, under the correct circumstances, Obama or one of his successors could, under the health quality provisions of the law, use the same type of provisions for the civil population.
It may seem totally paranoid on my part, but just think back to what would have been unimaginable for the government 30 years ago that is now considered "normal" and not newsworthy.
As for you not participating...well, don't ever go to the doctor, then. When you go to the doctor's office, you will be measured and weighed (BMI) and, if you have blood work done, you will likely have your cholesterol measured (question that? Why else are you are told to fast before the blood test?)
But, but, but...what about patient confidentiality?
Part of Obamacare is a mandate for electronic medical records...that are mirrored to a federal data warehouse. Patient privacy no longer exists (unless you "trust" the government)
The company I work for started a wellness initiative beginning this year. Our insurance company didnt raise our premiums this year but in order to recoup the added costs of complying with PPACA, my company raised the cost sharing (i.e. the employees share of the premium) by 5%.
However an employee received a 5% discount if they completed 2 out of 3 items: 1) completed an on-line health assessment/questionnaire with the insurance company, 2) certified oneself by signing a statement as a non-smoker and having been a non-smoker for at least 1 year or 3) had a preventative exam or care within the last 12 months; the list of qualifying preventative exams or care were, among several, a routine preventative physical (not a regular office visit or for treatment or follow up for an existing condition), a mammogram, a colonoscopy, a routine electro cardiogram, even getting a flu shot.
As far as the preventative exam and on-line health assessment and privacy concerns at least related to your employer, at my company, we in HR only received confirmation from the insurance company that they were completed and on what date and none of the results or details is shared with us as the employer as to do otherwise would be in violation of HIPAA.
I fully expect however that next year the costs will go up and the requirements will increase. For instance there was some consideration this year about excluding smokers from receiving the discount even if they completed the on-line heath assessment and had a preventative care exam. I also expect in the future that having too high of a blood pressure or having too high of a BMI, etc. will exclude people from receiving the discount or that they will be assessed a surcharge. Under HIPAA, the insurance company may not share the results but I think they could communicate a pass/fail grade.
I am of two minds on this. I agree with you that it smacks of an invasion of privacy. On the other hand, companies are doing everything they can to keep ever increasing health insurance and regulatory costs down.
Just be grateful that your company is keeping an employer sponsored group health insurance plan, at least for the time being and havent figured out, as some companies have, that in some cases it might be cheaper for them to eliminate the employer sponsored group health insurance, pay the government fines and force you to either buy very expensive private insurance or get insurance under one of the government insurance exchanges.
But you know that Obama and Polosi promised us that we could keep our current insurance plan, that nothing would change, that costs would go down .blah, blah, blah .. / sarcasm.
“voluntary compliance”....Google it
It makes good business sense. If you are wary of participating, or resent a "penalty" of a higher premium as a result of not doing it, you could always purchase insurance on your own. Nobody likes sharing too much with their employer, but you have to decide if disclosures like this (even though your results are likely aggregated with others) are worth it.
Our insurance does it...they give a flex card type account, and the more health screedings you allow, the more money is credited to the flex account.
Why I wouldn’t do it...IF they find something on their screening, it’s good in a way, you can work on it. But also, that “find” will be in your health records and should you want life insurance, for instance, you may be declined.
Most heakth insurance groups don’t label pre-exisitng conditions, which any findings will be considered, as reason to deny benefits.
And with Obamacare, you can’t be denied a policy (private) because of a pre-exiisting condition, but they can put all kinds of “riders” on your first year of coverage or on the rates. (usually if you’ve maintained continuous coverage, this might not happen.)
But I see it more of a way to gather info that might be used against you in the future, higher rates for those with certain conditions, etc. We know how the system works now, but how will it work in the future, and anything discovered is in your “permanent file.”
I have a pre-exisiting condition, and the only way we can maintain insurance coverage is through a group...if we tried to get it on our own, we would be denied or with Obamacare, we might be able to get it, but rates are sky high. There’s no way in the world I could get more life insurance (fortunately had the foresight to get it before I was diagnosed.
“Biometric” sounds ominous, like they are collecting your DNA info. But it is usually just ordinary, very basic info like blood pressure.
If the employer does not see the info (and it is unlikely that they will), then it is not a big deal, in my opinion. I would go ahead and do it.
If a “biometric screening” identifies any issues, do your own research before you let a doctor talk you into any therapy.
I have to do that with my company. It drops my monthly premium by over $120. If there are flags (cholesterol, weight, smoking, etc) then there are monthly coaching sessions with a health coach. The truth is, they will have all that info from when you last went to the Dr. Welcome to modern health insurance.
If by voluntary compliance you mean to say that I can voluntarily work or conversely voluntarily chose not to work for a company that has a wellness initiative; one that charges higher premiums for those who do not participate or voluntarily work for a company that chooses not to institute a discount or penalty or even not offer any health benefits at all you are correct.
Or if a company, such as a tobacco shop chooses to hire only smokers or if a company like a hospital or doctors office or a smoking cessation clinic chooses to hire only non-smokers, they should be allowed to do so, or for that matter, a fitness center that doesnt want to hire overweight fitness instructors.
Or if a company requires a Bachelors degree or MBA or PhD. or a licensure plus many years of prior experience for certain positions not otherwise legally mandated, or for that matter, a company that may waive those requirements where not legally required to do so based on prior work experience alone.
Or a company that may refuse employment based on a criminal background or a credit check where the employee may be handling large sums of cash or sensitive client information for instance. Or a company that refuses to hire as a delivery driver, someone who has had multiple DWIs and or multiple moving violations on their driving record.
Or a religious institution may refuse employment to non-religionists if their job requires them to teach religion or otherwise requires them to adhere to a moral code of ethics, etc. and that I can voluntarily chose not to work for any such company or institution that imposes any religion or morals or ethics or for that matter, a political POV that I may not agree with.
Or that I may voluntarily refuse to take a job that requires me to join a union or for that matter force a company to only hire union workers.
That a restaurant chain like Hooters should be allowed to not have to hire a servers who are grossly overweight and unattractive women or gay men because hiring them doesnt fit their business model or for that matter that a restaurant who wants to hire grossly overweight and unattractive servers or gay men because they think that good service is more important to their business model than the female sexiness of their servers, they should be allowed to do so
Yes the employee/employer relationship should be voluntary. It is or should be a two way street for both the employer and the employee.
The government should not mandate who a company can or should be forced to hire nor should I be forced to work for a company that I dont want to work for. That is voluntary compliance IMO. Of course if you are talking about the government mandating what the company I choose to work for, one who chooses to hire me with respect to what the company has to offer me in terms benefits and what I am forced by the government to accept, you are correct. That is not voluntary compliance that is government coercion.
Learn the difference between “Common Law” which is the Supreme law of the land and “Statutory Law” which is for 14th amendment “US citizens”