Did you hear Alabama will start charging its obese state employees $25 a month until they take steps to slim down? According to the story:
The State Employees’ Insurance Board this week approved a plan to charge state workers starting in January 2010 if they don’t have free health screenings.
If the screenings turn up serious problems with blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose or obesity, employees will have a year to see a doctor at no cost, enroll in a wellness program, or take steps on their own to improve their health. If they show progress in a follow-up screening, they won’t be charged. But if they don’t, they must pay starting in January 2011.
Here’s the threshold:
The board will apply the obesity charge to anyone with a body mass index of 35 or higher who is not making progress. A person 5 feet 6 inches tall weighing 220 pounds, for example, would have a BMI of 35.5. A BMI of 30 is considered the threshold for obesity.
Employers charging employees who smoke has become somewhat commonplace, but charging workers who are overweight is a fairly unique stance. Think these “incentives” will induce better health? Is it better to reward employees who engage in healthy behaviors or penalize those who don’t?