Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just Rewards? Healthy Workers Might Get Bigger Insurance Breaks

“Employers and health insurers could give larger discounts to employees who lose weight or lower their cholesterol under a health care overhaul proposal that's being assailed by AARP, the American Heart Association and other groups that fear it could result in higher premiums for people who don't achieve those fitness goals. The discounts are being pushed by Steve Burd, the chief executive officer of Safeway Inc., who has met with several lawmakers on Capitol Hill and says that rewarding healthy behavior has helped keep his firm’s health care costs flat while other companies’ have skyrocketed. But the proposal, which involves the sensitive issue of how aggressive employers can be in trying to induce workers to change their behavior to reduce their risks of disease, is greeted by skepticism by many patient advocates who think it could be coercive and unfair. ‘If you give one person a discount, someone else is going to end up paying more,’ said Paul Cotton, senior legislative representative, federal affairs, at AARP, one of more than 60 groups that's fighting the provision. ‘

No comments: