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Employer Sponsored Health Insurance Premium Reduction Programs
Old 02-17-2014, 07:38 PM   #1
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Employer Sponsored Health Insurance Premium Reduction Programs

For those of you out there still working for the man, does your employer offer some sort of health insurance premium reduction program based on your participation in a fitness check/testing (BP, BMI, LDL, nicotine, etc..)? If so do you participate? If not, why? My employer does, it reduces my premium by $100 a month, pretty much pays for my portion... Some of my coworkers refuse to participate based on privacy reasons, is this really a valid argument or paranoia?
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:11 PM   #2
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I moved this thread to the "Health and Early Retirement" forum.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:24 PM   #3
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I participated in a similar program for a past employer. After about six months, quite a few people who happened to be participating were targeted with unreasonable work demands and pushed out of the organization a few months after that. In theory this was a confidential program, but there's no way I will ever participate in such a thing again, unless I am only months away from pulling the plug on work permanently. Maybe it was just coincidence, but I will not put myself in a position where I have to count on the company acting reasonably.

I later found that the HR director knew who participated in the childcare referral program, the Employee Assistance Program, knew employee 401k balances and other details that were also supposed to be confidential. I do not believe a company assurance of confidentiality.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:41 AM   #4
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I'm retired, but still get health insurance from my former employer. This insurance offers a reduction in out of pocket maximum if you participate, which I do. I have to get a physical exam once a year (covered) and answer an on-line survey, which is not to onerous. Seems worth it to me.
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:34 PM   #5
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I participated in a similar program for a past employer. After about six months, quite a few people who happened to be participating were targeted with unreasonable work demands and pushed out of the organization a few months after that. In theory this was a confidential program, but there's no way I will ever participate in such a thing again, unless I am only months away from pulling the plug on work permanently. Maybe it was just coincidence, but I will not put myself in a position where I have to count on the company acting reasonably.

I later found that the HR director knew who participated in the childcare referral program, the Employee Assistance Program, knew employee 401k balances and other details that were also supposed to be confidential. I do not believe a company assurance of confidentiality.
Interesting, I get similar responses from some of my folks at work. I'm not sure if the feelings are justified of course because I would think HR acting on this information would set the company up for a lawsuit if it could be proven.
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:13 PM   #6
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My previous corporate overlords had a program that had a "voluntary" questionaire that would get you 10% off the premiums of one of the families of insurance they offered. The problem was that the deadline to take the questionaire was before open enrollment started - so you never knew if your existing insurance provider would be included for the coming year... so everyone had to participate.

I didn't use that insurance, but was pretty much forced to take the quiz. So I had the "fun" of not getting the discount, and still getting an employer provided quiz confirm I'm fat. (I'm not in denial, but I don't like the obvious being thrown in my face.)

It was getting worse when we were sold off. They started requiring you to get your waist and hips measured... so you'd get told by the quiz you're fat, then have a contracted nurse tell you you're fat... and still not qualify for the discount because you use a different insurance.

FWIW - I know I'm fat. I just don't like my workplace telling me about it.
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:18 PM   #7
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My employer gave us all fair warning early last year of their new wellness initiative.

Three steps to complete: an online assessment, a routine screening (or a checkup) and one more thing from a list (dental cleaning, vision exam, take a wellness class, etc.) if all three were completed, they would slightly reduce co-pays, deductibles and OOPM's for the 2014 plan year.
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:37 PM   #8
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I'm retired now but while I was working we had a voluntary health assessment we could take each year for a $100 gift card. Most people in my unit took the assessment (we wanted that gift card!) but I did hear of others who were afraid the health information would be held against them so they wouldn't participate. I thought they were paranoid. They probably thought I was naive......
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:54 PM   #9
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Interesting, I get similar responses from some of my folks at work. I'm not sure if the feelings are justified of course because I would think HR acting on this information would set the company up for a lawsuit if it could be proven.
And the operative word is IF. Same as any other termination of protected classes, or just someone they want out for any other reason. It's very very unlikely that such a suit would be successful. But it would most likely cost a lot to try to pursue one.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:16 AM   #10
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At my last job, they had us line up on certain days, once a year, to get our bp taken, get finger pricked for blood sugar and cholesterol, and spit into a vial to be checked for nicotine. We had very low premiums, for good health ins . Single coverage was only $19 a week. The insurer gave the company a discount on the premiums if they had us do the testing. It was not mandatory, but if you refused, you paid $5 more per week since they assumed you were a smoker unless your saliva test proved otherwise.
Can't remember for sure, but I think if you got the saliva test to prove you were a non-smoker, you had to get the other tests also. And you got a pamphlet blurb about how to improve your cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:22 AM   #11
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Interesting, I get similar responses from some of my folks at work. I'm not sure if the feelings are justified of course because I would think HR acting on this information would set the company up for a lawsuit if it could be proven.
The question is, can it be easily proven? Think about age discrimination in employment. That too would set them up for big lawsuits if it could be proven, but there are a million ways around it so it's almost never litigated even though the practice is rampant.
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:12 PM   #12
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The question is, can it be easily proven? Think about age discrimination in employment. That too would set them up for big lawsuits if it could be proven, but there are a million ways around it so it's almost never litigated even though the practice is rampant.
Yep, had a VP stand in front of the division explain how he wanted a younger workforce. Most of us were in a protected class(age). Some of the braver folks contacted HR. 'Oh he did not mean anything about age, he was talking about attitude'.
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:54 PM   #13
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Yep, had a VP stand in front of the division explain how he wanted a younger workforce. Most of us were in a protected class(age). Some of the braver folks contacted HR. 'Oh he did not mean anything about age, he was talking about attitude'.
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I've witnessed incidents just like that in town hall meetings and smaller group meetings. I can believe these guys aren't given more guidance on these things.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:05 PM   #14
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We have to meet standards in 3 of 5 criteria (I think BMI, cholesterol, blood pressure, others like that) for a substantial discount. You can either have your doctor fill it out or get your finger pricked by the company that comes to work for a few weeks every summer.

If you don't hit 3 of 5, you have to take classes or other things to earn points to get the discount.

It's not too onerous. It's administered by a third-party provider; supposedly, our HR department does not see anyone's results.

Perhaps I should be bothered by this, but for me, personally, I'm not.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:29 PM   #15
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Yep, had a VP stand in front of the division explain how he wanted a younger workforce. Most of us were in a protected class(age). Some of the braver folks contacted HR. 'Oh he did not mean anything about age, he was talking about attitude'.
Before a big layoff, we had an HR person deliver a presentation on how to fire older workers. From the class: "It doesn't matter the reason you are letting someone go. It just matters the documentation you have." They were not even subtle and didn't seem to believe they needed to be.

We were counseled to always include negative comments in reviews for workers, but especially workers in protected classes. They even suggested that sometime it can take a few months to build up adequate documentation in the file, which is time well spent to avoid discrimination lawsuits.

Age discrimination cases are almost impossible to make, in part because HR lawyers push these kinds of practices.
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Old 02-23-2014, 12:52 PM   #16
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We do... sorta?

There's a big reduction if you take a health quiz each year (which flags you for a drinking problem if you select more than 2 drinks a week ) and you don't get the $100/month smoking surcharge if you don't smoke.

They also offer an HSA rewards program for healthy choices, mostly getting a physical and doing a blood test. Somewhat of a pain but for free HSA dollars I do it.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:05 PM   #17
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My company offers up to a $300/year deduction in premiums if you take an online health assessment and screening tests. If your biometrics are out of whack, you can get a deduction for enrolling in a health improvement program.

They also started an HSA program this year. The HSA seems like a pretty good deal because after a certain age (65, as I recall) you can spend it on anything.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:19 PM   #18
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My company has a health assessment discount, and a tobacco-use fee. The assessment is both a questionnaire and blood work results. I participate, and don't smoke. Edit: Oh, they don't ding you if your blood work is not so hot...

My employer covers full cost of the plan, so I get the idea; if you're a higher health risk, they figure you should pay more into the pool. They also have a rather extensive wellness component; I used the health coach service for a couple of years, and found it to be helpful in changing some of my lifestyle. The company makes no bones about it; they're after more productive employees, and these programs are ultimately chasing that end. But, it's mutually beneficial, as far as I can see.

I believe we should never think of employment in any other than mercenary terms. But, I do appreciate an employer that's up front about it, and willing to consider my well-being in the process. They seem to be few and far between...
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