Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Some Businesses Requiring Wellness Check-Ups

The Wall Street Journal's Anna Wilde Mathews profiles an initiative by AmeriGas Propane, which requires all employees would to get physical exams preventive screenings. Workers and covered spouses have a year to complete the tests, which are covered 100%, or lose their insurance.

"AmeriGas, based in Valley Forge, Pa., is one of just a handful of companies that have mandated health testing, but benefits consultants say it is at the cutting edge of a growing trend," Mathews writes. "In a February survey by consulting firm Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby Inc. 45% of companies said they planned to, or were considering, adding penalties for employees who didn’t participate in wellness activities."

Wellness requirements pose legal questions and raise objections from labor officials. But Mathews notes that, prior to its mandatory program, AmeriGas was facing annual health-expense increases of 10% or more, while its workers had high rates of diabetes and heart disease and only 6% of the enrollees in their health plan had gotten recommended cholesterol checks in the previous 18 months and just 20% had their blood sugar tested.


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