Employers Monitoring Employees’ Weight & Habits – Just One of the Ways Obamacare Intrudes Into Your Privacy
Beginning in 2014, patients’ overall health, eating habits and body mass index (BMI) will be part of an electronic record, shared with various government bureaucracies, in addition to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Doctors will be required to record your BMI, which measures whether or not you are overweight. This will be done every you receive any type of medical treatment. This information will be sent to HHS who will keep track your BMI and your updated information will be forwarded to various other agencies.
There’s also a good chance your employer will try to bait you into enrolling in a wellness program in which employees will need to reveal their height, weight, body fat percentage and other personal data. A fine will be imposed on those who refuse to do so. The employer will not have access to the employees’ personal health information—it will be sent to a third party administrator. According to Health Affairs:
“The Affordable Care Act of 2010 will, as of 2014, expand employers’ ability to reward employees who meet health status goals by participating in wellness programs–and, in effect, to require employees who don’t meet these goals to pay more for their employer-sponsored health coverage. Some consumer advocates argue that this ability to differentiate in health coverage costs among employees is unfair and will amount to employers’ policing workers’ health.”
In the U.K., smokers and overweight patients are viewed as “undeserving” and are denied treatments such as cataract surgery and knee and hip surgery, and left to suffer through the symptoms. American Thinker reports:
“Some of the U.K.’s ‘trusts,’ which regulate the national health care system for various zones of the country, go farther, denying all operations to those who don’t meet the government’s weight dictates except for lifesaving surgery on their hearts, brains or to remove cancer.”
A recent study shows that a majority of the U.K.’s doctors think the national health system should go farther still and deny all non-emergency care to patients who don’t meet certain weight and health criteria. By law, they still must pay for their health care, of course, even though they are denied the ability to get treatment.”
State employees in North Carolina self-report height, weight and whether or not they smoke to their state health plan administrators. Those who admit they smoke or are overweight pay higher premiums. However, even employees who are not overweight and who claim to not smoke are subject to random health “inspections” by agents of their health care plan. And, these little checkups can occur at an employee’s home, school, or at work; a pursuit carried out to ensure the given quarry has maintained a proper weight and does not smoke.
Obamacare incentivizes these programs:
“These fat taxes and punitive charges are relatively small now, but under provisions of ObamaCare, they have the potential to grow to financially crippling proportions in the coming years. As the New York Times reported, current regulations allow corporations to charge employees who fail to meet specific government health standards up to 20 percent of their insurance costs. That jumps to 30 percent in 2014 and eventually up to potentially half their insurance costs.”
Given the incentives in ObamaCare, these monitoring activities will no doubt soon be employed on the population as a whole. Corporations are already beginning to adopt them. The only way to escape them will be to decline health insurance coverage in violation of the law and pay a fine.”
In fact, new data from Aon Hewitt, a global human resources consultancy, suggests that nearly 60% of U.S. employers plan to “impose consequences on participants who do not take appropriate actions for improving their health” in the next few years; this can include completing a health risk questionnaire.
CVS has been in the news recently for having announced to its workforce that they must participate in a “wellness review” or face an annual penalty of $600. Such reviews ask employees to have their physicians determine various health indicators such as weight, blood pressure and body fat.
Obamacare’s intrusion into your life begins with a 21 page health care application. Upon completion of the monstrosity, it will be analyzed by three separate federal agencies, including the IRS. You can take a look at the application here.
It’s also important to be aware of the fact that the electronic record, on which all of your medical information will be stored, can be hacked. Government agencies have fallen victim to hackers in the recent past. In an article in the Washington Times, it is noted that, “despite stringent privacy laws (called ‘HIPAA protections’ after the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), the new health care law will actually make it easier for accidental exposure or hacking of your private data to an unlimited number of strangers. Anyone with an ounce of media consciousness during the last decade knows that if hackers can break into the Pentagon, and millions of military medical files can be lost, then your medical records are not safe on a host computer or stored online.”
The long revered doctor-patient relationship is expanding to include a network of bureaucracies and perhaps a network of hackers.