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Firms dock pay of obese, smokers
Washington Times ^ | 8/13/07 | Gregory Lopes

Posted on 08/12/2007 10:47:36 PM PDT by melt

Companies seeking to cut rising health care costs are starting to dock the pay of overweight and unhealthy workers.

Clarian Health, an Indiana hospital chain, will require workers who smoke to pay $5 out of each paycheck starting in 2009. For workers deemed obese, as much as $30 will be taken out each paycheck until they meet certain weight, cholesterol and blood pressure standards.

Clarian employees will also be required to take part in a health risk appraisal that will inform the company which employees smoke.

Such appraisals are becoming a popular tool for businesses to determine the health of their work force. The type of health benefit program Clarian is setting up could become a model for businesses in coming years, analysts say.

"We anticipate that more employers will require employees to complete a health risk appraisal and participate in screenings," said Tracy Watts, a health benefits consultant for Mercer Human Resource Consulting. "We also are seeing more interest in rewards for healthy behaviors such as participating in health management-related programs and for healthy behaviors such as not using tobacco products."

A survey of nearly 3,000 employers last year by Mercer found that 53 percent required a health risk assessment of its workers. That number is up from 35 percent in 2004.

And 62 percent of the 135 top executives who responded to a PriceWaterhouseCooper's survey this year said their companies should require employees who show unhealthy behaviors to pay a greater share of their health care costs.

Weyco, a Lansing, Mich., benefits administrator, recently adopted a policy to completely eliminate tobacco use from its work force. In 2003, the company introduced a policy of not hiring tobacco users and began offering smoking-cessation programs to employees, who were given a year to quit.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: eaters; obesity; pufflist; smokers; workplace
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It's discrimination, man...

1 posted on 08/12/2007 10:47:38 PM PDT by melt
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To: melt
Boy, all the money grabbing politicians going to be pissed when no one smokes and they can't milk the cig tax for big bucks. I guess they will have to put their alternate plan into use, taxing fast foods.

Just a guess but I would think someone will sue this company if they get docked for smoking or being fat. This IS discrimination at it's finest.

2 posted on 08/12/2007 10:54:04 PM PDT by calex59
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To: melt
And 62 percent of the 135 top executives who responded to a PriceWaterhouseCooper's survey this year said their companies should require employees who show unhealthy behaviors to pay a greater share of their health care costs.

What about politically correct groups who define themselves by their unhealthy behaviors? Crickets chirping...

3 posted on 08/12/2007 11:11:46 PM PDT by Thinkin' Gal
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To: melt

What about all those fat liberals in birkenstocks that don’t work????


4 posted on 08/12/2007 11:17:47 PM PDT by AngelesCrestHighway
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To: Thinkin' Gal

>>>What about politically correct groups who define themselves by their unhealthy behaviors? Crickets chirping...<<<

Thinkin’ Gal has indeed been thinking...


5 posted on 08/12/2007 11:17:53 PM PDT by CheyennePress
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To: CheyennePress
what about homosexuals?.....they have the most dangerous and most expensive bad "habits" of all....

are they going to be docked?...

what about alcoholics?...what about people that pop pain pills constantly?...what about people that are promiscuous?....should we be checking their shorts?

6 posted on 08/12/2007 11:24:00 PM PDT by cherry
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To: melt
Just wait another 10 years or so when the study of genetics can identify genetic factors which affect health.

Anyone with those factors will be SOL.

7 posted on 08/12/2007 11:25:55 PM PDT by SIDENET ("You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred")
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To: Thinkin' Gal
What about politically correct groups who define themselves by their unhealthy behaviors?

We give them a PARADE!

8 posted on 08/12/2007 11:32:41 PM PDT by Shelayne (I will continue to pray for President Bush and my country, as I am commanded to do by my Lord.)
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To: melt

What about people who sleep around?


9 posted on 08/12/2007 11:39:56 PM PDT by RichRepublican (Good fences make good neighbors.)
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To: RichRepublican

Yes. Hysterectomies and AIDs cases are expensive enough.


10 posted on 08/12/2007 11:42:48 PM PDT by familyop (cbt. engr. (cbt.)--has-been, will write Duncan Hunter in)
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To: calex59

I have no love for trial lawyers, but I would sue a firm in a New York minute if they tried to dock my wages for this!


11 posted on 08/12/2007 11:45:36 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum)
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To: melt
Right now fat people are on the hit list. They have to pay for two seats on the airplanes. They are a BIG target these days (no pun intended) hehe.

I suppose that soon they will be checking your DNA to see if you have cancer based genes or diabetes genes .. and charge you more based on your *potential* risk. Some people could become uninsurable and unemployable for nothing more than their genetic code.

So what do we do about it? I know .. we pass some laws protecting lousy genes. You think we should grant them minority status? What do I say? keep your laws off my jeans!! hehe

Sorry folks .. it's late and I'm getting giddy.

12 posted on 08/12/2007 11:46:46 PM PDT by CometBaby (You can twist perceptions .. reality won't budge!)
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To: melt

Watch for this in the future because this will become a trend among businesses. Bottom line they are pushing for a nationalized health care system with their employees clamoring for it. Smokers, fat people, it isn’t going to end with these groups.


13 posted on 08/12/2007 11:55:52 PM PDT by jwh_Denver (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k08yxu57NA&NR=1)
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To: melt

Sounds like the perfect situation for an employer. Make the job as stressful as possible, then dock the worker when his blood pressure goes up.


14 posted on 08/12/2007 11:58:42 PM PDT by feedback doctor (green is the new red. . .)
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To: melt


15 posted on 08/13/2007 12:03:40 AM PDT by Paleo Conservative
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To: calex59
Isn’t that the truth! I can’t believe “the Constitution Police” (the ACLU) aren’t jumping on this issue with both feet! /sarcasm off

I bet the looney lefties, that are outraged by government eavesdropping on foreigners, are perfectly accepting of this outrage.

16 posted on 08/13/2007 12:12:14 AM PDT by singfreedom ("Victory at all costs,.......for without victory there is no survival."--Churchill--that's "Winston")
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To: melt
...will require workers who smoke to pay $5 out of each paycheck starting in 2009. For workers deemed obese, as much as $30 will be taken out each paycheck until they meet certain weight, cholesterol and blood pressure standards...

Interesting. Obese people could have 6 times the amount withheld. Funny, I don't remember hearing about the "evils" of being obese on the MSM.

A national tax on potato chips, I say...

17 posted on 08/13/2007 12:16:30 AM PDT by WrightWings
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To: calex59
Just a guess but I would think someone will sue this company if they get docked for smoking or being fat. This IS discrimination at it's finest.

My company, a Fortune 500, has a surcharge in place already for workers who use tobacco. It costs an extra $30 a month for health insurance so it doesn't look like a dock, but they already are docking pay in many companies for tobacco. We had a health risk assessment this year that was voluntary and tied to a slight discount. Talk is, it'll be mandatory within two years. So far, no lawsuits, and I don't think we'll see one soon.

18 posted on 08/13/2007 12:35:59 AM PDT by SoDak
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
You think someone else should pay for the added expenses of your unhealthy behavior? With car insurance your rate goes up with known risky behavior. Health insurance should be no different.

The real solution is take away the tax break for employer provided health insurance and let the employees take care of their own insurance/health care needs.

Health insurance through an employer has seriously distorted the entire health care industry which all came about because it isn’t taxed. A self employed person has to pay tax on their health insurance. Level the playing field and get employers out of the health care business.

19 posted on 08/13/2007 12:39:52 AM PDT by DB
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To: melt
How about skinny CEO’s why have heart attacks when they have sex with their secretaries or mis a put on the golf course?

What a total joke!

20 posted on 08/13/2007 12:44:44 AM PDT by jws3sticks (Hillary can take a very long walk on a very short pier, anytime, and the sooner the better!)
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To: SoDak

So no health tax on the coke snorters in the boardroom?


21 posted on 08/13/2007 12:46:49 AM PDT by this_ol_patriot (I saw manbearpig and all I got was this lousy tagline.)
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To: jws3sticks

I’ve not ever made a claim on health insurance in my 22 working years, and cross my fingers that my good fortune stands up. I can’t think of anyone who smokes in my company having cost money directly from their smoking, but I know I’ve paid a boatload of money for other people’s kids, hypochondriac idiots who go to the doc at first sniffle, and weekend athletes.


22 posted on 08/13/2007 12:50:19 AM PDT by SoDak
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To: melt

Time for another Roger & Me.
23 posted on 08/13/2007 12:51:51 AM PDT by Sockdologer (Waiting patiently for the Democrats to solve the worlds problems.)
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To: this_ol_patriot
So no health tax on the coke snorters in the boardroom?

He who pays the fiddler calls the tune. The only alternative is to get the goobermint involved and that can't be good for any of us. I've moved to the high-deductible plan with an HSA.

24 posted on 08/13/2007 12:52:35 AM PDT by SoDak
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To: SoDak
We had a health risk assessment this year that was voluntary and tied to a slight discount. Talk is, it'll be mandatory within two years. So far, no lawsuits, and I don't think we'll see one soon.

Your employer has no legal right to know what your blood pressure or cholesterol number is, or anything in your medical records. So when it becomes mandatory, the lawsuits will fly like snowflakes in winter.
25 posted on 08/13/2007 12:52:40 AM PDT by microgood
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To: microgood
Your employer has no legal right to know what your blood pressure or cholesterol number is, or anything in your medical records. So when it becomes mandatory, the lawsuits will fly like snowflakes in winter.

What's to stop them from raising everyone's health insurance through the proverbial roof, then offering a very steep discount for an assesment? That wouldn't be "mandatory" but would almost guarantee adherence.

26 posted on 08/13/2007 12:55:26 AM PDT by SoDak
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To: SoDak

I have other experiences with smokers, hyper tension, and all the rest of the stuff. The bigger the group, the lower the health insurance should be but it just keeps going up and up. It keeps the doctors as happy members of the local golf and yacht clubs. They earn it but it is a fact of life.


27 posted on 08/13/2007 12:58:57 AM PDT by jws3sticks (Hillary can take a very long walk on a very short pier, anytime, and the sooner the better!)
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To: SoDak
The only alternative is to get the goobermint involved and that can't be good for any of us.

So what do you think is going to happen? The government is going to get involved anyway, they will be the ones to insure all the "high risk" people under the guise of providing equal health care for all when the corps no longer will. The companies want to say we provide health insurance BUT they don't want to pay in. You can bet that any money saved will not go back into wages but into fat cats pockets. For certain your taxes will be raised to pay for all of this.

28 posted on 08/13/2007 1:02:27 AM PDT by this_ol_patriot (I saw manbearpig and all I got was this lousy tagline.)
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To: jws3sticks
Yup. The fact is, many people will have a situation in their life where a doc will extend their life by quite a ways. It's going to cost a lot of money when it happens and someone will have to pay for it.

I heard once that the most significant portion of what this country spends on health is extending the life of people by 2 to 3 weeks that are terminally ill, taking extraordinary measures. I wonder if that's true.

29 posted on 08/13/2007 1:04:56 AM PDT by SoDak
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To: this_ol_patriot
So what do you think is going to happen? The government is going to get involved anyway, they will be the ones to insure all the "high risk" people under the guise of providing equal health care for all when the corps no longer will. The companies want to say we provide health insurance BUT they don't want to pay in. You can bet that any money saved will not go back into wages but into fat cats pockets. For certain your taxes will be raised to pay for all of this. Oh heavens, I haven't the answer. I'm not sure anyone does. Healthcare is a commodity, and it's going to have to be paid by someone. I personally agree with someone above that I'd rather get more money and buy my own insurance, leaving the employers out of it. The problem there is that idiots won't buy it, opting instead to invest it into Playstation 3's and trips to Vegas, and the liberals will freak out about how heartless the country is, just like now, only worse.
30 posted on 08/13/2007 1:10:12 AM PDT by SoDak
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To: SIDENET
Just wait another 10 years or so when the study of genetics can identify genetic factors which affect health.

I wonder if smoking would cancel out a Parkinsons gene, since smokers for some reason don't get Parkinsons as much as non-smokers.

31 posted on 08/13/2007 1:10:34 AM PDT by Cementjungle
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To: melt

I bet most of America didn’t know Barak smokes. Hey I don’t care that he does. I smoked for many many years. I just quit, in fact, 30 days ago today.


32 posted on 08/13/2007 1:13:14 AM PDT by monkeyshine
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To: DB
I receive medical care from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, thus I would not add to an employers risk. But even if I didn’t, can you positively prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that my weight is due to “unhealthy behavior” and isn’t genetic or caused by something else? Medical science can’t say that, but you know more than they do, is that it? Also, please explain to me why car insurance companies now use credit scores to determine your rates, since that has absolutely nothing to do with your driving record.
33 posted on 08/13/2007 1:14:46 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum)
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To: SoDak
SoDak,

The line I like, "Do I have another drink today or have another three days in a convalescent home when I am 91 and drooling or sleeping all day long?"

The answer is obvious.

34 posted on 08/13/2007 1:17:27 AM PDT by jws3sticks (Hillary can take a very long walk on a very short pier, anytime, and the sooner the better!)
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To: jws3sticks

Bottoms up 8-)


35 posted on 08/13/2007 1:20:42 AM PDT by SoDak
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To: SoDak
You know the problem came when the insurance companies starting becoming profit making machines. I mean the Blues in particular, at one time when they were truly "non-profit" they took in much more money in premiums than they paid out. That is the whole principle of group insurance, while sounding socialist it worked. A lot of everyones pay in a little to cover the few who will need the care. Problem is when they were just covering hospital medical care this worked, now everyone gets to go to the Doctor for a lot 10 bucks and the insurance is billed 70, that adds up to broke real fast.

What about a guy like me, in the 30 years I worked at this job I used my insurance twice, both times when my kids were born, the bills were about 5k each. I also smoked for 40 years. A guy I work with with is a "health nut" has been in for two torn rotators and for arthroscopic surgery for each knee and one TKA (total knee arthroplasty) i.e. kneecap replacement. This cost 10's of thousands of dollars. Now that he is older he is talking total hip. So he the proverbial 6 million dollar man who can never pay back what he used is going to get cheap insurance while me the "high risk" guy who paid many times over what he used is going to pay through the nose.

36 posted on 08/13/2007 1:28:28 AM PDT by this_ol_patriot (I saw manbearpig and all I got was this lousy tagline.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Why should that be your employer’s problem? Shouldn’t be a problem between you and your insurer?

Does it matter why you’re fat (not saying you are)? If being fat is a health risk its a health risk. Insurance is supposed to be based on risk assessment. Low risk, low rate, high risk, high rate.

In today’s world the employer is the customer to the health insurance company not the employee. The employee just becomes something to be dealt with with the least grief on both sides. Not a healthy arrangement...

37 posted on 08/13/2007 1:30:01 AM PDT by DB
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To: this_ol_patriot

The problem started when you were no longer the customer to be served.


38 posted on 08/13/2007 1:31:07 AM PDT by DB
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To: SoDak
What's to stop them from raising everyone's health insurance through the proverbial roof, then offering a very steep discount for an assesment? That wouldn't be "mandatory" but would almost guarantee adherence.

Some may try it, but many companies actually use health insurance to attract employees, so I guess it depends on how available replacement workers are.

Personally, I would quit if a company demanded my medical records out of principal, and I am in good health with no known medical issues.

The other problem is that often information about other family members is in medical records for helping in determining diseases that are genetically related and then the company would be demanding the whole family history, which means family members that do not even work for the company could sue.

I think experiments are going on in various companies, but there are huge roadblocks to continuing down this road very far, it may just be more psychological warfare to eventually get nationalized health care.
39 posted on 08/13/2007 1:35:32 AM PDT by microgood
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To: DB

That too, back before this HMO stuff my Doc’s price was clearly posted, pay it or leave. Then the insurance companies started covering Doctor visits, he still charged full price + paperwork costs for insurance filing. Then the “Health Networks” came and they told him you join us or you get no patients that are in our network, which in this blue collar town at the time meant most everybody. So then he could only charge 10 bucks to the patient and had to go to the insurance company for the rest. It wasn’t bad though his business tripled with whiney patients who thought a 10 buck trip to the docs was more fun than going to the movies.


40 posted on 08/13/2007 1:45:47 AM PDT by this_ol_patriot (I saw manbearpig and all I got was this lousy tagline.)
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To: RichRepublican
What about people who are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant nurses?
41 posted on 08/13/2007 1:51:26 AM PDT by BigCinBigD (")
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To: SheLion; Gabz

Ping!


42 posted on 08/13/2007 2:23:40 AM PDT by RandallFlagg (Satisfaction was my sin)
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To: DB; 2ndDivisionVet

No, no they need “Romney Care”


43 posted on 08/13/2007 2:49:10 AM PDT by tiger-one (The night has a thousand eyes)
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To: melt

“Fat people got no reason.....fat people got no reason...

Don’t want no fat people.....don’t want no fat people round here....”


44 posted on 08/13/2007 3:02:11 AM PDT by Nextrush ((A Randy Newman parody))
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To: melt

Are they going to dock the pay of homosexuals? How about those who have a few drinks after work? There are infinite ways for meddling do gooders to punish any behavior they don’t agree with.


45 posted on 08/13/2007 3:07:02 AM PDT by saganite (Billions and billions and billions----and that's just the NASA budget!)
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To: DB

Health insurance for a self-emplyed person is 100% deductable of the general tax on the 1040 form but you still pay the 15%+- fica on it because it cannot be deducted as a business expense.


46 posted on 08/13/2007 3:33:10 AM PDT by Sacajaweau ("The Cracker" will be renamed "The Crapper")
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To: melt

“It’s discrimination, man...”

I think he’ld be right. I would like to apply certain mental health criteria at my place, like finding a way to screen out the neurotic impulse that motivates control-freaks.


47 posted on 08/13/2007 3:40:12 AM PDT by atomic conspiracy (Rousing the blog-rabble since 9-11-01)
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To: this_ol_patriot

I have seen insurance companies go both ways on considering people “high risk”. On one hand people with the risk factors of weight, blood pressure, and lipids. On the other hand people who are extremely fit were considered “high risk” by the same company - anyone who did more than the lowest common denominator health club routine. One company even considered anyone who bicycled more than 75 miles per week to be “high risk” on the grounds of “excessive exercise”.


48 posted on 08/13/2007 4:02:27 AM PDT by Fred Hayek (Liberalism is a mental disorder)
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To: melt

Ha, they would cut the payroll in half here. I swear 90% of the women here are overweight, and many of them smoke as well. Make that 95% now that I think about it. I can count the fit girls on one hand. The guys run about 50% and only a few smoke.


49 posted on 08/13/2007 4:03:20 AM PDT by doodad
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To: melt; Just another Joe; CSM; lockjaw02; Publius6961; elkfersupper; nopardons; metesky; Mears; ...

Nanny state Pingeroo!!!!!!!!!


50 posted on 08/13/2007 4:20:04 AM PDT by Gabz (Don't tell my mom I'm a lobbyist, she thinks I'm a piano player in a whorehouse)
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