Posts Tagged ‘Wal-Mart’
November 17th, 2011
Reed Abelson of the New York Times reports that that higher penalties for employees who are obese are coming. He writes, “Policies that impose financial penalties on employees have doubled in the last two years to 19 percent of 248 major American employers recently surveyed. Next year, Towers Watson, the benefits consultant that conducted the survey, said the practice – among employers with at least 1,000 workers – was expected to double again. “ Smokers Penalized With Health Insurance Premiums – NYTimes.com The article looks closely at penalties imposed by Wal-Mart on smokers.
The enhanced penalties are the result of the Affordable Care Act. Led by Steve Burd, CEO of Safeway Inc. a broad business coalition pushed a provision (of course called a “wellness” provision in Washington-speak) to allow employers to charge overweight employees higher health insurance premiums than those meeting the employer’s weight standard. President Barack Obama applauded incorporating this “Republican idea” into his health care reform legislation Republican Ideas Included in the President’s Proposal | The White House.
October 21st, 2011
The New York Times reports that Wal-Mart is cutting some health care benefits. Among the changes is a requirement for smokers to pay a substantial penalty…an extra $260 to $2,340 a year…if they want health care coverage. Wal-Mart Cuts Some Health Care Benefits – NYTimes.com
The change raises the specter of when this kind of penalty will be applied to persons who are overweight or obese. A major failing of the Affordable Care Act was the ‘Safeway’ provision to allow imposition of such penalties (there called ‘employer incentives’) on workers whose health metrics did not improve. As the nation’s largest employer, this move by Wal-Mart does not bode well as it could be applied to overweight and obese workers.