Is my company's wellness program legal?
March 25, 2009 3:31 PM Subscribe
Is my company's new, highly Orwellian, wellness program legal? How can I get them to stop?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Posting anonymously to avoid employer retribution if I end my making a complaint.
My spouse and I are insured by her employer's health care plan. Recently, she was informed about a new wellness program they are implementing. The plan is called voluntary but it seems anything but. If you refuse to enroll, $90/month is deducted from your paycheck. If you enroll, you have two choices: the "no monitoring" plan which costs $65/month and the "monthly monitoring" plan with costs $30/month. Under terms of the monthly monitoring plan, you agree to health screenings of weight, cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, etc. every 30 days. If you have a negative screening, such as your weight going up instead of down, your rate climbs to $65/month until corrected.
In general, I have no problem with wellness programs, and all for healthy living. However, I don't like the fact that they are penalizing people who don't want to participate, and I don't like the idea of anyone being forced to pay "fat fees." I did a little research on the EEOC site and came up with this:
"The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has offered employers some guidance with regard to the ADA's restrictions on medical inquiries and examinations. Under the guidelines, an employer may conduct medical examinations and activities that are part of a voluntary wellness and health screening program. Therefore, offering employees the opportunity to voluntarily participate in health screening programs for high blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring are not likely to violate the ADA, as long as there is no penalty (economic or otherwise) for not participating. Employers must treat any information acquired as a confidential medical record. (source: http://hr.blr.com/whitepapers.aspx?id=19254)"
We have no other access to health insurance, so switching plans isn't an option. I know you're not a lawyer, and you're not my lawyer. But I'd be interested in opinions as to whether this program is legal. And if not, I would also appreciate any tips people may have for how to get the employer to change the program. We live in Georgia, if that helps.
Throw away email address: firstname.lastname@example.org