Wellness Programs Confront Big Brother

More than half of employers offer [wellness] programs to stop smoking or to manage weight… The first, and sometimes only, step in enrolling an employee in any wellness program is often to ask him to complete a health risk assessment containing a dozen or more questions, including some about the employee’s family history of medical conditions like high cholesterol or diabetes.

[Yet because of] the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008…this year, insurers and…employers are no longer permitted to ask people about their genetics or family history in health risk assessments if the answers are tied to any sort of reward, like a premium discount.

Full article on new restrictions placed on wellness programs.

Comments (5)

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  1. Tom H. says:

    So much for Obama’s idea of saving money by promoting wellness.

  2. Vicki says:

    This is truly mindboggling.

  3. Greg says:

    This is one more example of government meddling pushing up the cost of health care.

  4. Stephen C. says:

    Title should be “Wellness confronts Bureaucratic Idiocy.”

  5. Linda Gorman says:

    This is a fairly strange thing to put up front in the article. Employer insurance is currently experience rated, not medically underwritten.

    Individual genetic risk for type 2 diabetes is unknown and at present non-genetic risk scores are better predictors. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20075150?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=12]

    Why would one ask about parents’ cholesterol when you can measure it directly in an individual?

    Finally, virtually everyone interviewed at the end said that wellness programs would be fine without the probibited data.