Healthcare law(s) question

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from IPWBride. Show IPWBride's posts

    Healthcare law(s) question

    This question is not necessarily for Parents, but I believe a few of you are attorneys so I figured I'd throw it out there (and curious if other's employers are doing the same).  My husband's company, where we are insured, just started a new program to get their employees fit.  Its an outsourced company, I won't give the name, but they want you to get points to attain higher and higher levels of status.  You get points by going to the doctor, working out, taking health related quizes online, etc.  But mainly you need to work out to get to the higher (Bronze, Silver, Gold) levels.  They are linking their individual employees healthcare costs to their level.  So if you are Bronze, you pay $200/mth.  If Silver, $150/mth (just examples of rates). 

    This to me sounds like discrimination.  The company has stated that unless you get Silver, you will pay the highest rate.  And in order to get points for a workout, you need to walk/run at least 10,000 steps in 24 hour period (which is about 4 miles the average person...oh and did I mention, you need to pay for their specific pedometer to track these steps).  Now I know some people do 4 miles in their sleep... but thinking about our population, clearly so many of the employees at this firm are going to be paying more.

    It just seems odd to me.  I have absolutely no problem encourgaging people to workout and get healthy.  I wish so badly that everyone could be healthier... better for them, better for us all, less expensive medicine, etc (I'm actually really psyched that I've recently lost 7 pounds and can run a solid 30 minutes... something I've never been able to do before).  However... to me this sounds like the company saying "if you don't exercise the way we tell you and when we tell you, and using the devices we tell you, you will pay more."  Is this legal?

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from princess-cal. Show princess-cal's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    I'm no attorney, but my company does this as well so thinking it must be legal.  I believe this will become more of the norm in the future. 

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    IPW - I would be upset about it. I have no time to exercise beyond chasing my kids around. But I'm sure what they are doing is offering "discounts" for exercising. If you don't exercise, it's not that you're paying at a "higher" rate, you're paying the "normal" rate. Then, if you walk or run of whatever, you get a discount. Probably perfectly legal.

    Just more big brother telling you what to do. I'm totally against it.

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    To my knowledge, it is discrimination but not against a protected class so it is legal unless legally disabled employees are held to the same standards.  That would be a potentially messy protected class ball of wax.

    I don't like it, either, fwiw!!!

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from cwagner13. Show cwagner13's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    I recall DH and I discussing this idea a while ago... and the points I recall from that discussion is that the base rate is what would be the most expensive - but to some extent, you can control the cost and discount you get.

    I would assume discrimination if health care was denied, not if the cost was variable. Otherwise I would expect that the same argument would be made by part time employees who have to pay more for their health costs.

    I understand why it can seem unfair... but at the same time, I wish we had this option. If I could lower my healthcare premium just by actions I can control, I would be happy - even though right now, I am not in the position to take advantage of that.

    Heck, we pay significantly more just for having kids. We accept that our car insurance rates are tied to credit score, age, gender and driving history, our home insurance to where we live. We expect that higher income people have to pay bigger percentage of their salaries (not just same percentage which would still be more than someone who makes less, but more overall percentage)... so this will be normal over time - except that this is something the employee can control regardless of any other factors.

     

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Winter2011Bride. Show Winter2011Bride's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    I think if the company is enforcing it that they should provide this special pedometer for free. Is it everyone covered has to do 4,000 steps a day, or just one person? I would be upset if this program was focred upon me.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from cwagner13. Show cwagner13's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    But if I understand - it is not forced on you, but if you want the discount, then you have to follow the requirements. This is why I don't see it in the same way. If they forced you to monitor even for the base level, then that is one story - but if it is to get the discount, then it is a choice you make. I expect they will adjust (because I can see swimmers, rowers, cyclists wondering how the pedometer will catch their workouts etc).

    To me, this is the same as other incentives I have seen - like my company waives the hospital co-pay if you join their future moms program before week 30 of your pregnancy, my office gym offers a point a day for gym visits that can be redeemed as gift cards - the only difference is that this is a monthly incentive.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from rama8677. Show rama8677's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    My husband's insurance does a similar thing.  It's legal and I actually think it's a good thing, (assuming that they offer a modification option for someone who has a documented physical condition that would prevent them from meeting the standard requirements). It's a good thing because it provides an incentive in the form of money for people to exercise and generally live a healthier lifestyle.  People who are in good shape and live healthy lifestyles tend to require less medical intervention (on the whole, obvously with some exceptions) which means they will be generally cheaper for the insurance company to carry on their plan. It's all about saving money, both for you and the insurance company. 

    Regarding them making you pay for the pedometer - just as CWag said, this is a program that allows you to lower your costs and it's optional.  So the pedometer is an investment into your being able to lower your healthcare costs overall. I don't think it's a big deal for them to make you buy it. 

    It's akin to a grocery store that gives a discount if you bring your own recycleable shopping bag.  You have to pay for the shopping bag but then every time you use it you get a discount.  People who don't want to use those shopping bags can still shop there but have to pay the full price for the groceries.

     
  9. This post has been removed.

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from IPWBride. Show IPWBride's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    When presented as many of you did, as earning "discounts" rather than "here is the rate for you because your are thin and here is the rate for you because you are fat" ... that makes sense, and I can see how that is not discrimination (and no, it isn't forced, you are more than able to pay "full price.").  And as someone who started a career in healthcare analyzing claims data... believe me, I certainly understand how a less healthy life is a more expensive life in most instances.  I also agree that there should be incentives to be healthy.

    I guess I was frustrated this morning.  I am now able to go to the gym 3-4 times a week, I've lost some weight following a new diet and exercise plan (haven't seen this # since college frankly), am getting what I consider much stronger in my workouts... and I came no where near the number of steps I needed to qualify for what this company has decided is acceptable. I mean, who makes that decision?

    I don't know, I just got frustrated.  And to your point Cwag... in this instance, something that appears that I can control it is out of my control still because someone somewhere decided only a 4 mile run is an official workout (and you are right, if I were a rower, I'd be even more pissed!).  I have friends that do Crossfit, they are in just ridiculously amazing shape.  But they wouldn't qualify either as they don't do 10,000 steps worth of exercise.  I just wonder who decides these things?!  And to your point Some-Guy... who decides what is "fat" and what is "fit" 

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from princess-cal. Show princess-cal's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    I also know from experience, that being thin doesn't always equate to being healthy. However, I do agree with the others that I could be a good thing, and it's basically giving you a discount if you qualify for it.

     

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    Congrats on your weight loss, increased strength, and feeling great IPW!!

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    I'm with you IPW. I'm thin (120 lbs 5'6") but I don't have time to take a 4 mile walk - unless I give up another precious hour of sleep. I don't drink or smoke, I eat a healthy diet (except for the Diet Cokes). But under your company's rules, I would qualify for any discount. Not right IMHO.

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    I know this is coming from a place of "privilege," because I can afford it, but I would gladly pay the full, non-discounted rate so as to keep my medical and health privacy from my employers to the greatest degree possible.  Unless I had a disability or temporary health condition requiring documentation for accomodation purpose, I keep my medical information to myself.  It is absolutely none of their business what my cholesterol is or whether I've gotten a mammogram or what I ate for dinner or whether I went to the gym.

    They do this because they get better deals if they can show people doing these things, just like doctors' offices and medical practices get better ratings if they can show certain levels of flu shots, screenings, etc. among their patients.

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from princess-cal. Show princess-cal's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    Purple, I also agree with you on that.  We also have healthcare center in our office, it's a great "perk" but I am hesitant to use it for the same reason. 

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    I admit I'm baffled by this post. Your company provides health care. You qualify for that health care.  But you don't qualify for a discount, so you posit that it must be discrimination.  How?  Why must you qualify for a discount?

    And if you strapped any pedometer to your arm the second you woke up, you'd be amazed how many steps per day you take.  Essentially, they are asking for an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise unless you work in a home office right next to your bed. 

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    IPW, It's not 10,000 steps of "excercise" (i.e. working out), it's 10,000 steps. So you put the pedometer on every morning and wear it all day = 10,000 steps. I've actually been doing this off and on for about 7 years and do find the pedometer to be an incentive to move. So if you run say, 3 miles on the treadmill that's 6,000 steps but in the course of running around, chasing DS doing the grocery shopping, carrying laundry up and down stairs, that easily adds up to another 4,000 steps.

    As for the insurance aspect, I think Rama hit the nail on the head.

    • Height - Steps per Mile
    • 4'10" - 2,601
    • 4'11" - 2,557
    • 5'0" - 2,514
    • 5'1" - 2,473
    • 5'2" - 2,433
    • 5'3" - 2,395
    • 5'4" - 2,357
    • 5'5" - 2,321
    • 5'6" - 2,286
    • 5'7" - 2,252
    • 5'8" - 2,218
    • 5'9" - 2,186
    • 5'10" - 2,155

    http://www.thewalkingsite.com/10000steps.html

     

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    I picture a lot of people in your office taking teeny beeny steps all day so they add up.  :)

    I have not much of value to add, but I wanted to say that I understand why your initial reaction would be to bristle.  Not on the discrimination so much, but on the front of employers being up in your business.  I always resent anything that feels like that.  Similarly, my employer is opening a medical clinic soon for staff that will handle routine care, for FREE - no deductible, and you don't even have to have health insurance through my employer.  It's amazing, but my first reaction was to be very very wary.  However, I've since read all their documentation on HIPAA and on separation of that info from personnel info, blah blah, and I feel pretty good about it.  So if the privacy was a concern for you, it might be something to look into.

     
  19. This post has been removed.

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from princess-cal. Show princess-cal's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    Actually, the health plans have MDs that determine the parameters.

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from GoneToTheDogs39. Show GoneToTheDogs39's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    Don't they just use the standard BMI (Body Mass Index) charts to determine if you are fit or fat.

    http://www.freebmicalculator.net/bmi-chart.php

    Give points for not smoking. 

    Are you saying they can force you to join a gym or wear a pedometer...I wouldn't like that.

      

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from RogerTaylor. Show RogerTaylor's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    Ask your "legal" qestion at the mass law library....it's free!

     

    Google their website. I use it all the time.

     

     
  23. This post has been removed.

     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Re: Healthcare law(s) question

    I heard this on NPR this morning and immediately thought of this post:

    http://www.npr.org/2013/02/20/172470371/being-obese-can-weigh-on-employees-insurance

     

     

Share