Monday, November 17, 2008

Alabama Set to Penalize Obese Workers

I don't know how I missed this story.

If you're an obese worker in Alabama who hasn't signed up for a free health screening with a doctor by 2010, you're going to get dinged an additional $25 monthly on your health insurance costs.

If you've seen the doc and you've got weight to lose then unless you make "progress" with your weight, you'll get dinged starting in 2011.

Alabama already dings smokers $25 per month.

While they haven't said what "progress" really means, the plan's horribly flawed.

While it may be fine and dandy to suggest that these workers' weights are health risks, unlike smoking, eating is not a choice, and given that there are no gold-standard commercial weight loss programs out there certainly many motivated, diligent and health conscious obese workers are going to fail in their efforts to make "progress" and then get dinged financially for something known to be incredibly difficult for the majority of self-directed and commercially directed individuals - sustaining a significant weight loss.

Sure, ding the smokers, but until you've got a great place to send your obese workers for help and a means to identify those who for medical or pharmacologic reasons may struggle with losing, get your hands out of their pockets.

[Belated hat tip to loyal blog reader Ruth]