Employer Says Get Diagnostic Tests or Else

This is from the Wall Street Journal:

Beginning last year, [AmeriGas Propane Inc.] mandated that all employees would have to get physical exams, blood-pressure checks and cholesterol and blood-sugar tests. Women also were required to get Pap smears, and mammograms for those 40 and older.

Workers and their covered spouses have a year to complete the tests, which are covered 100%, or lose their insurance. And they need to keep getting the checkups, at least every two years, in order to retain the health benefits.

Comments (10)

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  1. Ken says:

    I don’t have a problem with this. Insurance pools, whether organized by the employer or not, have a legitimate interest in encouraging people to remain healthy.

  2. Linda Gorman says:

    In my opinion this is a major boundary violation reminescent of the Soviet Union, which told dissenters to go in for psychiatric treatment or else.

    The ethical question is whether the company can also force people to accept medical treatments they don’t want as a condition of keeping their job or their insurance? If an employee’s wife’s cholesterol is high, can the company force her to take cholesterol lowering drugs or loose the $15,000 in income represented by the health insurance policy? Can it do this even if her CRP is low?

    These requirements have little to do with remaining healthy. What they really are is a formula for wasting money. Should a woman who has had a hysterectomy have to get a Pap smear? Why should someone of normal weight with no symptoms have to have blood sugar tested? Does a home test that saves money count?

    A far easier and less ethically challenged would be for AmeriGas to stick to filling propane tanks and let its employees manage their health responsibly by setting them up with a well designed policy linked to a health savings account.

  3. Greg says:

    I have a problem here because the federal government’s policies virtually force us into employer plans and we have no other realistic options. If the market were alowed to develop independently of employment, insurance pools could set their own rules and they should be free to do so.

  4. Charlie says:

    I must have missed a point that Linda and Greg seemed to have picked up on.

    Who is forcing people to work at Amerigas?

    I know that I would be looking into finding a new employer, so they would be losing at least one “GREAT” employee, and I am sure others would follow. That is what competition is all about, and why my employer offers good health care and not Bob’s fly-by-night mandatory two year check-up insurance.

  5. Linda Gorman says:

    AmeriGas is a private company and should be allowed to offer compensation as it sees fit. However, there is no reason why people cannot point out that the compensation it offers is grossly unfair.

    AmeriGas offers employees compensation for their labor. That compensation includes wages plus benefits. It is now saying that if employees don’t get a particular medical test, they will lose compensation worth about $15,000. Maybe people would rather skip the tests, take half that money and buy their own health insurance policies.

    What is to stop AmeriaGas from saying that people who don’t drive the proper car, or eat the groceries provided by the company, or who drink any alcohol, or eat salt or eat sugar, or fail to sleep 8 hours each night, or participate in high injury sports, or who get sexually transmitted diseases will also lose $15,000 in compensation?

    If people fail to condemn this kind of policy, and if ObamaCare rewards this behavior and imitates it in a public plan that is successful in destroying private medical care, what is to prevent the government from doing the same thing?

    Businesses that pay higher wages in lieu of providing health insurance also get the great employees you describe.

  6. Brian says:

    Amerigas is quite proper in this demand. If you support people being fired from work because they smoke or are overweight, as most conservatives do, then you also should support this corporate control over your life. Especially if the employee already knows the requirements of the job.

    As to private insurance being “driven out of buisness”, that is pure hogwash and fearmongering designed specifically to re-enforce the stranglehold of private, non-competative insurance. What WILL happen, is that the insurance companies will for the first time be forced into a competitative market. If they can’t compete then that is just the rules of free-market which conservatives are always applauding. You would think they could get their stories straight once and stick to it. Insurance should have been happy and satisfied making 500% profit margins rather than the 1000% profit margins they enjoy now. It is pure greed at the expense of America’s health that we are fighting against and it is that greed that conservatives are trying to conserve. Insurance rationing healthcare is already a fact of life, insurance will give you a choice of doctors alright, if you’re lucky you get 2 or 3 doctors to choose from…. boy what a choice. And above all, after paying your insurance companuy hundreds ofthousands of dollars they LOVE to tell you on the operating table that they aren’t going to pay a dime. SOME system conservatives are defending.

    Healthcare coverage is much more than $7500 a year and again minimizing the problem comes to the fore-front. Consevatives are engaged in minimizing and/or eliminating un-insured statistics thinking that it perfectly fine that 5 million have no coverage and their lives are destroyed because they happen to get sick. The actual number is probably HIGHER than 50 million un-insured because the arguement of “illegals” being counted in this number is false. First, no illegal is going to register for fear of deportation so the inclusion or minimization of the un-insured number due toillegal aliens is a lie. Second, there has been no acknowledgment of the fact that up to 80% of the INSURED, have inadequate insurance. This isn’t just about the un-insured but about 80-85% of the entire population of America. Of course a majority are satisfied with their coverage because their coverage has not been tested. Test that “insurance” and that satisfaction number drops like a lead ballon.

    Why not try to address the issue of healthcare with integrity and honesty and without the need to scare the H*** out of people? It weould be refreshing for once.

  7. Larry says:

    John, I recently received a piece of data on the average annual increase in health care costs. Please tell me, based on my comments and the data, if my analysis is correct.

    Unless the health care overhaul deals with the cost of healthcare, this is what you can expect your taxes to escalate each year — times the factor that healthcare represents of GDP — currently around 16% — or 7.8% average increase times its GDP proportion or — 1.67% points of increase per year!

    And here is the cost data and its citation:
    According to a new analysis, medical expenses on a per member per month (PMPM) basis have escalated at 7.8% per year for the past six years.
    Source: “Medical Expense Trend Stabilized,” Mark Farrah Associates (MFA), June 25, 2009, http://www.markfarrah.com/healthcarebs.asp?article=63

  8. Beth says:

    Even though no one is required to work at Amerigas, if they are allowed to get away with this, then other companies will be too. Whether it’s for your “own good,” or not, as rare as it is these days, there is such a thing as personal choice and privacy.

  9. Claire says:

    Doesn’t sound like there is an opt-out provision. Not all women want (or should want) mammograms every 2 years. I prefer thermography to cumulative radiation that hasn’t resulted in any better survival rates from breast cancer. Such mammograms have also resulted in women being over treated aggressively for rather benign dcis as cancer.

    “Mammography screening finds the small indolent cancers called DCIS that represent a reservoir of silent disease in up to 18% of the population (at autopsy). This leads to overdiagnosis and overtreatment. For the invasive cancers found in 1-2% of the population (at autopsy series), screening detection is of little help, with little change in the number of advanced cancer cases, and about 40,000 deaths every year.” (www.drdach.com/Mammography.html)

  10. Bakulya says:

    For them to keep it lapse it costs time for them to issue policy how long beofre you policy how long beofre you policy it lapse it is waste of time for them to consider you are not going to date it.For them to keep it lapse it is waste of time and money to consider you as potential customer.