Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The D.O.L. Wants You Fat, Dumb & Happy

[Welcome Industry Radar and Wall Street Journal readers!]

Looks like the D.O.L. is meddling where it does not belong. It seems employer incentives to get you off the couch and into a gym are not in your best interest.

Same goes for stop-smoking incentives, drug & alcohol rehab incentives and health screenings.

The D.O.L. thinks you are better off as an overweight, smoking alcoholic. After all, the carrier is paying the bill for the abuse you are inflicting on your body.

Regulatory guidelines recently issued by the department are likely to curtail the ability of employers to motivate workers to kick unhealthy habits. In effect, the guidelines close a legal loophole that could have allowed employers to make health insurance more expensive for unhealthy workers than for their colleagues.


Nice choice of words.

workers enroll in an employer-sponsored health plan with a high insurance deductible. They can offset the deductible by earning "wellness credits" for meeting certain health benchmarks -- such as for cholesterol count -- issued under a separate supplemental policy.

So healthy people, in effect, are rewarded with lower total health care costs.

Isn't that like offering better interest rates to those who are financially healthy? Or better pay to workers who perform better on the job?

So is the D.O.L. trying to socialize the employer health market? The homogenization of the workforce.

Looks that way.

Proponents liken the rewards to giving a good-driver discount, arguing 70% of health-care expenses are lifestyle-related. Exposure to higher out-of-pocket costs motivates employees to improve their health, which saves employers money.

OK, but doesn't it also save the EMPLOYEE'S money?

Seems that way to me, but who am I to question the D.O.L.?

So the D.O.L. not only wants to promote an unhealthy lifestyle, they want you to pay more for health care and health insurance.

What kind of logic is that?

Oh yeah. This is the gubbermint. It doesn't have to be logical.
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