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  1. #1
    crush the fences iwakar's Avatar
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    Default Employer-backed, insurance-enforced "health-positive programs"

    ‘I Live Paycheck to Paycheck’: A West Virginia Teacher Explains Why She’s on Strike

    This bit absolutely stunned me:

    What are the origins of the strike?

    They told us that essentially if you weren’t a single person, if you had a family plan, your health insurance was going to rise substantially. As a West Virginia teacher — and I’ve been teaching 10 years — I only clear right under $1,300 every two weeks, and they’re wanting to take $300 more away for me. But they tell me it’s O.K., because we’re going to give you a 1 percent pay raise. That equals out to 88 cents every two days.


    They implemented Go365, which is an app that I’m supposed to download on my phone, to track my steps, to earn points through this app. If I don’t earn enough points, and if I choose not to use the app, then I’m penalized $500 at the end of the year. People felt that was very invasive, to have to download that app and to be forced into turning over sensitive information.
    It seems to me that this is just a natural evolution of the insurance industry's "penalty creep" that's been happening for over a decade now; since they decided they could penalize smoker's right out of their paychecks and even those who aren't smokers, but just failed to supply proof that they aren't smokers in a timely fashion. Why stop there? Why not start docking the paychecks of people up-front for being overweight, disabled, unhealthy, and mentally-incompetent until they can prove otherwise on an annual basis? /s

    Are you all good with this precedent? What are your thoughts?

    Update: Adding another article I found -- "Employers Tie Financial Rewards, Penalties To Health Tests, Lifestyle Choices"
    "The views of absolutists and purists everywhere should be noted in fierce detail, then meticulously and thoroughly printed onto my toilet paper ply."
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  2. #2
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    I had to do something similar about a decade ago at my job. But it didn't have the creepiness of the mobile app. We had to sign and submit a document assuring that we had moderate physical activity, didn't drink excessively or smoke to receive a $500 "discount" on health insurance. We put up with it, but we could easily just lie, and we didn't have some app spying on us. Not only does this require an app, but the employee have a smart phone that can run the app. That's way too much burden on people who are already burdened.

  3. #3
    crush the fences iwakar's Avatar
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    When I was in retail years ago, they implemented a tobacco-free "discount" program (which was in reality a penalty program since all rates went up). If we didn't supply a signed document with evidence that we'd seen a PCP swearing that we did not use tobacco by a set date, we'd be charged $350 more than our peers on our insurance premium for the year until given an annual chance to "prove" we weren't tobacco-users (every June).

    At my current university employer, if we don't have an annual physical by a set date, they hit us with the same up-charge.
    "The views of absolutists and purists everywhere should be noted in fierce detail, then meticulously and thoroughly printed onto my toilet paper ply."
    ~~~
    “My goal is to stay safely in between self-analysis and self-destruction.” ― Andrew Solomon

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    ‘I Live Paycheck to Paycheck’: A West Virginia Teacher Explains Why She’s on Strike

    This bit absolutely stunned me:



    It seems to me that this is just a natural evolution of the insurance industry's "penalty creep" that's been happening for over a decade now; since they decided they could penalize smoker's right out of their paychecks and even those who aren't smokers, but just failed to supply proof that they aren't smokers in a timely fashion. Why stop there? Why not start docking the paychecks of people up-front for being overweight, disabled, unhealthy, and mentally-incompetent until they can prove otherwise on an annual basis? /s

    Are you all good with this precedent? What are your thoughts?
    I'm pretty sure there's an episode of black mirror about this, or maybe this is worse than what was happening in that episode because the fitness training appeared to be earning credits for payment in leisure activities rather than for health insurance.

    Its not even lifestyle issues like what you mention but imagine if they decide to exclude you from insurance if you have diabetes or any other actual life limiting illness, it really gets to the point of making you wonder what the purpose of insurance actually is, when there are more exclusionary factors in the plan than anything else, its less about health insurance then than it is about policing lifestyle.

    I'm unsure about it, as unsure as I am about other things like insurance programmes in which everyone pay equally but some individuals benefit from expensive cosmetic surgery, tattoo repair or erasing, even gender transitioning and reversals or the controversy in the UK lately about the provision of expensive prophylactic HIV anti-virals for homosexuals who wish to engage in unprotected sex.

    Some of the ways in which private and public insurance schemes have responded to culture shifts and niche needs I think are troubling, most people barely scratch the surface of the kinds of politics involved in the democratic deficits in that kind of thing and I get the feeling most people would want to avoid it altogether. Here in NI I've heard about bizarre attacks upon publicity buses used in profiling of breast screening, suspicions, probably rightly, fell upon some shady mens rights activists who are pretty close to being misogynists.

    Market forces and private insurance are not a fix for those sorts of contested judgements about the rationing of medicine and health services but often it does take it off the public's radar or at least the media's radar. Its strange that lifestyle policing in relation to adopting a healthy lifestyle will gain traction where the other issues wont. I know for sure that a lot of the pop libertarianism in the US in relation to smoking has been influenced or sponsored by big tobacco but I dont think it can be explained away as simply about that.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    I had to do something similar about a decade ago at my job. But it didn't have the creepiness of the mobile app. We had to sign and submit a document assuring that we had moderate physical activity, didn't drink excessively or smoke to receive a $500 "discount" on health insurance. We put up with it, but we could easily just lie, and we didn't have some app spying on us. Not only does this require an app, but the employee have a smart phone that can run the app. That's way too much burden on people who are already burdened.
    Lifestyle things like tobacco and alcohol consumption are one matter, I think there's a lot of conflicted approaches to that within business, workplace and organisational culture, pretenses to soberiety and responsibility combining with boozey ents and team building initiatives for instance or smoking used as means of social networking (that one made it on to episodes of Friends).

    Some of the expectations about fitness or engaging in strenuous exercise or exertion is a difficult one, I can see expectations relating to those things being fine if the firm provided discounts, gym memberships or even simply time in which people can engage in those things.

    Like I knew a workplace which did a leaflet drop and tried hard to encourage people to cycle to work, guess what? No showers in the workplace or changing rooms to swap and store clothes if the weather is inclimate, raining, snowing, shit like that, another easy example is the canteen which has the most unhealthy, deep fat fried menu available or the so called healthy options are uninteresting, maybe even actually unhealthy, and disinteresting.

    I remember spending a year vegetarian, lost weight but in Ireland the food was awful, salad boxes, carb loading heavy, I went on a European youth week trip to central europe were all the EU institutions are based, visited the parliament etc. and the food during that trip was amazing, they were used to preparing food for vegans, it was so interesting and often the portions were massive but not carb heavy that a lot of the meat eaters on the trip wanted to eat it aswell.

    A lot of the coercive aspects of trickery by insurance coverage and stuff is a result of the fact that something which should be pleasant and second nature and desirable is often half assed in a manner which makes it something people want to make the effort to opt out off and avoid. That's fucked up.

  6. #6
    crush the fences iwakar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    Its not even lifestyle issues like what you mention but imagine if they decide to exclude you from insurance if you have diabetes or any other actual life limiting illness, it really gets to the point of making you wonder what the purpose of insurance actually is, when there are more exclusionary factors in the plan than anything else, its less about health insurance then than it is about policing lifestyle.
    Exactly my fears and it truly begs the question 'what the purpose of insurance actually is' if allowed to discourage health insurance for those who need it most rather than who need it least.

    I'm overweight. Over 35 years of age. A single parent. With a family history of Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. Given their druthers, I'm sure insurance companies would be more than happy to charge me a number of penalties for simply existing within several statistically unfavorable demographics, pricing it right out of the realm of possibility for me to utilize. And if we allow this lifestyle policing to continue unchecked as we have done, what's to stop them in future?
    Last edited by iwakar; 03-01-2018 at 05:30 PM. Reason: changed a word for clarity
    "The views of absolutists and purists everywhere should be noted in fierce detail, then meticulously and thoroughly printed onto my toilet paper ply."
    ~~~
    “My goal is to stay safely in between self-analysis and self-destruction.” ― Andrew Solomon

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    Stuff like these is exactly why my country is loosing desire to move closer to the west and many even want communism back. (at least in economic sense)

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    Fuck you I will do what I want in my personal life. If my employer, insurance company, or w/e tries to do something like that I will work around it no question.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Exactly my fears and it truly begs the question 'what the purpose of insurance actually is' if allowed to discourage health insurance for those who need it most rather than who need it least.

    I'm overweight. Over 35 years of age. A single parent. With a family history of Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. Given their druthers, I'm sure insurance companies would be more than happy to charge me a number of penalties for simply existing within several statistically unfavorable demographics, pricing it right out of the realm of possibility for me to utilize. And if we allow this lifestyle policing to continue unchecked as we have done, what's to stop them in future?
    I dont believe in conspiracies but I do believe in patterns and trends, this to me is the thin end of the wedge to creating a more Malthusian "health" service, it wont be a health service, it will perhaps be a comfort to the richer individuals who probably need to use it the least because they have lots of opportunities, social capital, other factors which lend themselves to health and fitness being an aspect of their lifestyles as a matter of course. Everyone else will be priced out of the market place.

    So what you will have is a health service which is effectively a sort of covert eugenics programme, the ill are allowed to perish, combined with a bunch of other trends, like encouraging unhealthy lifestyles as a form of rebellion for the under privileged and ill informed, and that's exactly what it is.

  10. #10
    crush the fences iwakar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    I dont believe in conspiracies but I do believe in patterns and trends, this to me is the thin end of the wedge to creating a more Malthusian "health" service, it wont be a health service, it will perhaps be a comfort to the richer individuals who probably need to use it the least because they have lots of opportunities, social capital, other factors which lend themselves to health and fitness being an aspect of their lifestyles as a matter of course. Everyone else will be priced out of the market place.

    So what you will have is a health service which is effectively a sort of covert eugenics programme, the ill are allowed to perish, combined with a bunch of other trends, like encouraging unhealthy lifestyles as a form of rebellion for the under privileged and ill informed, and that's exactly what it is.
    I definitely want you to be wrong about which way this wind will blow in the future, but I can't say.
    "The views of absolutists and purists everywhere should be noted in fierce detail, then meticulously and thoroughly printed onto my toilet paper ply."
    ~~~
    “My goal is to stay safely in between self-analysis and self-destruction.” ― Andrew Solomon

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