Dakota County offers workers incentive to stay healthier

  • Article by: Laurie Blake , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 20, 2014 - 8:28 AM

This wellness program is a first for public entity in state.

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decembersueJan. 19, 14 7:37 PM

these programs have absolutely no science behind them. There was an op-ed in this newspaper a few months ago that pointed out why, but essentially, they're not measuring things (other than tobacco use) in a way that gives the full picture of someone's health, especially their pre-medicare health (which is what should be weighing on premium costs). Add to that major controversy over what cholesterol numbers actually mean, as well as growing evidence that blood pressure numbers aren't usually accurate when tested, and all you get is a program that costs employers money and makes them feel good but doesn't actually do anything.

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EleanoreJan. 20, 14 7:38 AM

I think I need to go with the Union on this one. While agreeing that employees health coss to effect the cost of the benefit to the group (county) the fact is that that is the group, good and bad, and by sanctioning those who cost the group more, you unreasonably are trying to segragate the group into two groups which is not what the insurance does....so the county can't choose to do that either with this benefit. Maybe just consider dropping health coverage totally, proveide each employee with the same stipend, and let your people go out onto the open market and find their own coverage

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furguson11Jan. 20, 14 8:09 AM

$39/mo isn't going to keep me away from chocolate.

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aardvark878Jan. 20, 14 8:13 AM

This is just outright creepy. Health status is supposed to be private, and in no way the business of your employer, as long as you can do your job. What's to keep a company from pricing their insurance out of reach for all but the workers they deem the most healthy? As someone pointed out already, there is no science behind any of this, and there are also strong genetic components to these things. Not to mention that scoring well does not prove you're healthy. One of my health problems that makes it really difficult for me to exercise keeps my blood pressure unusually low. Should I be rewarded for that? And should I be punished for finding it exceptionally difficult to be as physically active as I want to be, so I have more body fat than I want? The health problem I have is neurological...not something I have any say in. It's simply something I have to deal with, and I manage it as best I can...including exercising to tolerance. The whole thing is so frustrating to me, because I long to have a body that can hike for miles, but I don't. Now employers want to compound that by punishing me?

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EleanoreJan. 20, 14 8:33 AM

When a reasonable alternative to unequal treatment by a public body exists, the country is setting itself up for unnecessary hostility and legal costs as individuals adversely effected by this bad decision seek redress for the financial penalty they are charged due to inalienable self-status and county policy of discrimination, as well as the social stigma (correctable though penalty fines by the country to the individuals) they unreasonably must suffer for this discrimination.

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wingknutJan. 20, 14 8:34 AM

The employees who will want to join this are the ones who are already skinny and healthy and eat all their vegetables.

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tapperJan. 20, 14 8:41 AM

Co pay...I remember when I had a cadillac plan. I would have thought government would have abolished such a plan.

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EleanoreJan. 20, 14 9:38 AM

Another thing that bothers me about this story is the "discounted" memberships at private gyms/facilities. If this is something the county is paying for to a private entity, are all private facilities eligible for their same subsidy or is this a means of funneling public dollars to a select few "winners" in the form of a subsidy? I don't like the potential for abuse of public tax dollars here. Again, better to just give employees a set benefit in dollars and let them take it where they will.

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imkirokJan. 20, 1410:52 AM

Encouraging employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle is good public policy. Healthier workers means fewer sick days, lower insurance costs, and increased worker productivity. If it works for the private sector, it will work in the public sector.

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georgina17Jan. 20, 1411:16 AM

Hmmm... I hope this article is incomplete. The headline seems to fit the article, indicating that healthy people are given money and the unhealthy can just wait until they become healthy through behavior change, inheriting a different set of genes, or anti-aging schemes that revert their bodies to pre-injury or illness status. If this program does not provide equal rewards for the person adding exercise to their lifestyle as are provided to the person who inherited a body that never needs exercise to meet artificial weight targets, I think it has problems. Since science is showing that regular exercise is much more important than BMI in mitigating all of the risks theoretically adressed by this program, it seems that rewarding exercise time would be most practical, and it can be measured with all kinds of toys/tools these days.

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