Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Senate health care bill would let insurance companies charge individuals for not meeting wellness targets


Here’s a little known trap in the Senate version of the health care reform bill. True, We’ve dropped the public option and offered exchanges, but we’ve proposed taxing employers who offer “too much” health insurance. We’ve gotten rid of the pre-existing conditions problem. But insurance companies will be able to surcharge those who don’t make certain wellness targets, not just weight, but blood pressure and blood chemistry as well. I wonder how HIV infection would fare in this. Cigarette smoking clearly would be an issue. The presumption is that wellness falls under “personal responsibility” and behavior. But it invites a kind of wellness Gestapo. Would it apply to employees in a workplace under a group policy? In some companies, it's already happening.

A similar problem exists today when people apply for long term care insurance, especially at more advanced ages. They have to meet certain monitoring targets over time before being accepted.

Adele M. Stan has the article on AtlerNet Jan. 12 here.

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