Is Big Brother Watching Your Weight? The Affordable Care Act Penalizes Fat Employees

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • The Affordable Care Act and the Penalizing of Employees for Being Overweight

    All of us seem to have some story about going to battle with an insurance company. If you do not have any such tale and are seeking bariatric surgery at some point, chances are you will have an account of your own soon enough. I suspected we were all in deep water when the snare of pre-existing conditions was first introduced.

    Things have gotten better, but I hesitant to use the word "good" just yet. I believe that the Affordable Care Act is a step in a better direction, but wait just a minute. What if you are overweight or obese?

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    The answer is simple enough and hardly the stuff of celebration. A policy meant to lift the burden from the uninsured and present an affordable option to all maintains that those among us who are overweight or obese will be penalized for their condition. Whereas most Americans are either overweight or obese, the Affordable Care Act will not be met by the tweet of party favors just yet.

    "Fat Fines" of the Affordable Care Act

    It has been estimated that 50% to 60% of money spent to address health issues is spent conditions that could be improved through stress management, diet and exercise. Therefore, why pay when people get ill when if they had only exercised and dieted all of these issues could have been avoided. So seems to be the contention of those who drafted the Affordable Care Act. 

    Employers now have the increased option to penalize employees who are overweight or obese. Monetary penalties were increased to as much as 30%
    of health care premiums. Prior penalties were capped at 20%. Enter CVS Caremark.

    CVS Caremark to Fine Workers Who Refuse to Report their Weight, Body Fat, Cholesterol, and Sugar

    The powers that be at CVS Caremark have had a letter distributed to employees who participate in the health care program offered by the company. The letter states that employees who do not report their cholesterol, body fat, sugar and weight to WebMD Health Services Group from a yearly health screen will be penalized $600.00. A deadline of May 1st was given to submit the information. The company has also made revisions to their health care policy advising smokers to either attempt to quit or to enroll in a tobacco cessation program.

    The stated goal is to encourage employees to practice healthier behaviors, but many are concerned about beginning a new trend in the workplace. The founder of Patient Privacy Rights has expressed concerns because she believes many employees are focused on getting rid of employees who have high-end health issues. In addition, the Downy Obesity Report points out that programs meant to address weight loss through the use of penalties are ineffective.

    The Better Option to Fight Fat

    Many experts agree that the better way to enhance employee success is through the initiation of social rewards-based programs that offer gaming applications, building healthy habits through nutrition and fitness education in a team atmosphere, and wellness programs that encourage healthy lifestyles based on goals that are fun and attainable.

  • Living life well-fed,

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Published On: May 30, 2013