- The Progressive Pulse - http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org -

American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and the American Heart Association oppose State Health Plan style wellness provisions

There is discussion in Washington about allowing employers more discretion to impose financial penalties on unhealthy workers. The legislation would allow more businesses and governments to create wellness provisions similar to the ones proposed in North Carolina.

Now some heavy hitters are opposing these punitive wellness provisions.

Here is part of what the three groups said in a policy statement:

The American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and American Diabetes Association support comprehensive wellness programs in the workplace. However, all three groups believe that financial incentives used to motivate behavior should not be tied to premiums, deductibles or other coinsurance paid by employers. The evidence that insurance based incentives change behavior is lacking, and the risk that these plans could be used to discriminate against persons who are less healthy than their counterparts is not insignificant.

Health care reform should not replace the practice of charging higher premiums for individuals who smoke, are overweight, or suffer from high blood pressure, with plans that charge lower premiums for people who don’t smoke, are not overweight, or who have normal blood pressure. Many individuals with chronic conditions will find it difficult to meet the standards set by wellness plans and could end up paying higher premiums in the individual and small group markets – just as they do now.

Furthermore, the individual’s right to privacy about their personal health status in the workplace can be compromised by these programs.

I couldn’t agree more. You can read the entire statement here [1].