Privacy and Healthcare: Match Made in Heaven or Breach of Rights?

by | May 3, 2006 | Community Circle, Observations, Tecknowledgy

A recent article in Inc. magazine caught my eye, especially because it deals with privacy.
Jeff Bedard, CEO of Crown Laboratories, saw a 30 percent increase in his company’s healthcare bill during the past year. Reflecting on what could occur to turn around this trend, he came up with a new wellness program designed to reward employees for better health:

“Each worker is required to get an annual on-site health assessment. Based on a number of indicators–including blood pressure, weight, physical activity, and cholesterol levels–the individuals are given a “wellness number” of up to 24. Those who improve their scores by at least three points a year, or maintain a score of 20 or more, will get a $500 bonus and extra days off.”

Smoking is another one of his pet peeves, to the extent that he wants employees to begin paying for their own premiums if they do not stop smoking:
“Smoking is now officially against Crown policy–even during off-hours–and nicotine levels are measured in the health assessment. Smokers have until January 2007 to kick the habit. If they don’t, they’ll have to start paying their own health insurance premiums.”
I value my privacy as much as anyone, and yet I also think it’s interesting to make people accountable for their health. How accountable and how far can we go? The Inc. article lacked depth in that area, but how do you feel? Let’s begin a dialog on this very important issue. Send me an e-mail or submit a Comment and we’ll post it.

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