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Speak Up: Docked Paycheck For High BMI?

Clarian Health, an Indianapolis-based hospital system, recently announced that starting in 2009, it would fine employees $10 per paycheck if their body mass index (BMI) is over 30. If their cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels are too high, they'll be charged $5 for each standard they don't meet. And if they smoke, they'll be charged another $5 in each check. Depending on their level of health that could mean some employees are out $30 per paycheck. Clarian's reasoning? They are already seeing that unhealthy employees are costing them more than their healthy counterparts in the end due to rising health-care costs.

Clarian's penalty approach is paving the way for the new wave of health. Previously, most companies rewarded employees for doing well, rather than penalizing them for doing bad. Interesting idea, but will it fly?

What do you guys think? Is this a fair approach? Would it convince you to get healthy? Would you like to see more employers taking this approach? Speak up and share your opinions in the comments section below.

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amber_castaldo amber_castaldo 8 years
This is so crazy. I don't know how I feel about this, it's unfair because they are discriminating against all the over weight people however their really only asking them t o pass a physical.
hexentanz hexentanz 8 years
I see a growing trend of people killing themselves just to get to work without seeing a paycut, not to mention a wave of eating disorders popping up.
Allytta Allytta 8 years
i totally agree. i'm a believer in healthy living and trying to educate my peers... but a lot of them and older people say that they don't really care until they get some kind of serious condition... and a fat doctor is something strange. of course, there might be doctors with thyroid problems and others... but some of them are just over-eaters. it's not really believable, when your doctor tells you to lose weight to be healthier, but him/herself sits on his/her ass and does nothing. well, it might be unfair in some situation, but anyway this will make everybody try even harder to get helahier. right? if do not succeed - oops... i think there should be a posibility to go to court and apeel this matter of there's no way of losing the weight, or getting the cholesterol down. but there should be proof that they tried hard enough. this scheme should be used everywhere in the world. but sometimes i think it's good there are fuller people and the number is raising, healthy people are more visible and appreaciated, so we now have more possibilities. it's a pitty that less fortunate people get left out in the shadow, but that's life. and as funny as it may seem :)
Allytta Allytta 8 years
i totally agree. i'm a believer in healthy living and trying to educate my peers... but a lot of them and older people say that they don't really care until they get some kind of serious condition... and a fat doctor is something strange. of course, there might be doctors with thyroid problems and others... but some of them are just over-eaters. it's not really believable, when your doctor tells you to lose weight to be healthier, but him/herself sits on his/her ass and does nothing. well, it might be unfair in some situation, but anyway this will make everybody try even harder to get helahier. right? if do not succeed - oops... i think there should be a posibility to go to court and apeel this matter of there's no way of losing the weight, or getting the cholesterol down. but there should be proof that they tried hard enough. this scheme should be used everywhere in the world. but sometimes i think it's good there are fuller people and the number is raising, healthy people are more visible and appreaciated, so we now have more possibilities. it's a pitty that less fortunate people get left out in the shadow, but that's life. and as funny as it may seem :)
Schaianne Schaianne 8 years
Is that even constitutional??
tralalala tralalala 8 years
I just want to say, I do have hypothyroidism, and it does make you gain weight more easily than regular people. HOWEVER, it doesn't make it impossible to lose weight. Yeah, it's a little harder, but not impossible. Not only that, but there are pills you can take that regulate your thyroid, and even though chances are you'll be on them for the rest of your life, they work. They work well. So even though it is a reason to gain weight, it's not an excuse to not lose. And on top of that, losing weight can actually help you get your thyroid in check. Not only that, I'm super anemic, and allergic to iron supplements, so I have significantly less energy than most people. So no more excuses people! If I can lose weight, so can you haha. The only people I know of who are genuinely unable to lose weight without medical intervention, are people with cushings disease, which is when your body produces way too much cortisone.
tralalala tralalala 8 years
I just want to say, I do have hypothyroidism, and it does make you gain weight more easily than regular people. HOWEVER, it doesn't make it impossible to lose weight. Yeah, it's a little harder, but not impossible. Not only that, but there are pills you can take that regulate your thyroid, and even though chances are you'll be on them for the rest of your life, they work. They work well. So even though it is a reason to gain weight, it's not an excuse to not lose.And on top of that, losing weight can actually help you get your thyroid in check. Not only that, I'm super anemic, and allergic to iron supplements, so I have significantly less energy than most people.So no more excuses people! If I can lose weight, so can you haha. The only people I know of who are genuinely unable to lose weight without medical intervention, are people with cushings disease, which is when your body produces way too much cortisone.
facin8me facin8me 8 years
Crazy Minky- If people want to ignore responsibility for weight gain, that's their prerogative. It's not up to companies to take a patriarchal position that they know what's best for their employees, and then dock their pay as a result.
crazy-minky crazy-minky 8 years
That was a truly moving and insightful rant. You've openned my eyes. Insurance companies, evil? Whaaaaa? Capitalism finding its way into healthcare. Oh man. No way. I just can't believe it. But seriously, lets get back to the issue at hand here. People trying to defer responsibility for their weight gain. Its lame. Sure there is thyroid which affects what, 1 in 50, 1 in 70? I'm not sure. But I know it doesn't affect 2 in 3. And and also paragraphs make your comments much less painful to read.
crazy-minky crazy-minky 8 years
That was a truly moving and insightful rant. You've openned my eyes. Insurance companies, evil? Whaaaaa? Capitalism finding its way into healthcare. Oh man. No way. I just can't believe it.But seriously, lets get back to the issue at hand here. People trying to defer responsibility for their weight gain. Its lame. Sure there is thyroid which affects what, 1 in 50, 1 in 70? I'm not sure. But I know it doesn't affect 2 in 3.And and also paragraphs make your comments much less painful to read.
BalancedBabe7 BalancedBabe7 8 years
Crazky Minky, In the US insurance companies do not like to cover people even with diseases they cannot control. There are many insurance companies that will not insure a person "who has a pre-existing condition". That means from MS, Parkinson's, Cancer, etc. There are also many needed treatments for such diseases that insurance companies refuse to pay for- they would rather people get sicker. "Whats next, if we get cancer!?!?!" comments don't really make sense." Well, in reality they do. Look at the health care system in America. Also look at the billion dollar tobacco industry. In the last few years they have put out "advertisements" to deter smoking, only because they were forced to by the FDA. However, they are making the product stronger to make more people addicted. Look at the food industry. Look at all the trans fats in foods, not for any other reason than to "make it last longer", when its just cost cutting techniques. These are two examples of what the US government knows goes on, but does nothing because they are getting money. Yes, people who suffer from diseases like MS, Parkinson's and cancer do suffer in the workforce. No they do not get charged for it-- they don't get hired because of it because they are seen as a liability for insurance and $ purposes. The companies know that pre-existing conditions will end up costing their companies millions of dollars. So to your comment yes, it does make sense. This health care company just gave an idea to people on the big business arena. That idea is hey you have something wrong with you and you want to work here- you have to pay us. Again discrimination. What if they said that to every woman, every minotity. HA,the melting pot and the statue of liberry-- more like who has more money and where can we get more. This measure would only be fair if everyone paid a "tax" for ALL unhealthy behavior. That means anyone having a donut or danish at a morning meeting-- tax, who doesn't go to the gym or walk at lunch hour-- tax, anyone having chips with their lunch-- tax, anyone going for a ciggy break--tax, anyone who drinks alchol---tax, the list can go on.But then again I do think that in 1776 the US got its freedom from England, and there was that little thing -- oh what was it called- oh, yea the Boston tea party. Tax the big businesses because they are the reason why people are becoming unhealthy-- long hours, lower pay, higher living costs, unhealthy air, water, food, etc.
BalancedBabe7 BalancedBabe7 8 years
Crazky Minky,In the US insurance companies do not like to cover people even with diseases they cannot control. There are many insurance companies that will not insure a person "who has a pre-existing condition". That means from MS, Parkinson's, Cancer, etc. There are also many needed treatments for such diseases that insurance companies refuse to pay for- they would rather people get sicker. "Whats next, if we get cancer!?!?!" comments don't really make sense." Well, in reality they do. Look at the health care system in America. Also look at the billion dollar tobacco industry. In the last few years they have put out "advertisements" to deter smoking, only because they were forced to by the FDA. However, they are making the product stronger to make more people addicted. Look at the food industry. Look at all the trans fats in foods, not for any other reason than to "make it last longer", when its just cost cutting techniques. These are two examples of what the US government knows goes on, but does nothing because they are getting money. Yes, people who suffer from diseases like MS, Parkinson's and cancer do suffer in the workforce. No they do not get charged for it-- they don't get hired because of it because they are seen as a liability for insurance and $ purposes. The companies know that pre-existing conditions will end up costing their companies millions of dollars. So to your comment yes, it does make sense. This health care company just gave an idea to people on the big business arena. That idea is hey you have something wrong with you and you want to work here- you have to pay us. Again discrimination. What if they said that to every woman, every minotity. HA,the melting pot and the statue of liberry-- more like who has more money and where can we get more. This measure would only be fair if everyone paid a "tax" for ALL unhealthy behavior. That means anyone having a donut or danish at a morning meeting-- tax, who doesn't go to the gym or walk at lunch hour-- tax, anyone having chips with their lunch-- tax, anyone going for a ciggy break--tax, anyone who drinks alchol---tax, the list can go on.But then again I do think that in 1776 the US got its freedom from England, and there was that little thing -- oh what was it called- oh, yea the Boston tea party. Tax the big businesses because they are the reason why people are becoming unhealthy-- long hours, lower pay, higher living costs, unhealthy air, water, food, etc.
Marci Marci 8 years
I have issues with anyone telling anyone else how to live their life. Whatever happened to living in the land of the free - able to live without dictatorship? This is certainly dicatating how people can live their lives.
calamityjen calamityjen 8 years
Ugh. Clarian is so big on public image that you'd think they would have realized what bad PR this is. This kind of thing is exactly why I won't ever work at any of the Clarian hospitals. They might pay better, but I'll take a lesser-paying job at a hospital that wants to boost its employees' morale, not crush it with penalties and fines. Surely this is legally wrong somehow??? I agree that being overweight is unhealthy, but damn. That's MY business, NOT my employer's. I know quite a few people who work in the Clarian system...I'll have to ask them how they feel about this. Ugh. Way to give Indy a bad name. Stupid Clarian.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
Unless you have thyroid problems, in which case losing weight is sometimes just not possible.
crazy-minky crazy-minky 8 years
And obviously everything listed here was stuff that you could control. "They're charging us for our smoking and poor eating habits. Whats next, if we get cancer!?!?!" comments don't really make sense. You see, diseases you can't control, that is what health insurance is there to cover. At least I imagine. I mean, I am Canadian, its different here.
crazy-minky crazy-minky 8 years
And obviously everything listed here was stuff that you could control. "They're charging us for our smoking and poor eating habits. Whats next, if we get cancer!?!?!" comments don't really make sense. You see, diseases you can't control, that is what health insurance is there to cover. At least I imagine. I mean, I am Canadian, its different here.
crazy-minky crazy-minky 8 years
I think the most frustrating thing I've read in these comments is the continuous "Overweight people can't help it. We're predetermined to be this way genetically". People have been riding that one way too hard. Its hardly true as well. People just need to buckle down and lose the weight. High premiums or not. If I was overweight this would be a slap in the face and a wake up call, not a chance for me to complain about discrimination. Our standards of weight loss of are so messed up right now. Self control and exercise go a long way. Seriously.
crazy-minky crazy-minky 8 years
I think the most frustrating thing I've read in these comments is the continuous "Overweight people can't help it. We're predetermined to be this way genetically". People have been riding that one way too hard.Its hardly true as well. People just need to buckle down and lose the weight. High premiums or not. If I was overweight this would be a slap in the face and a wake up call, not a chance for me to complain about discrimination. Our standards of weight loss of are so messed up right now.Self control and exercise go a long way. Seriously.
jessy777 jessy777 8 years
If you start docking pay for things that are testable, as one poster wrote, where does it stop? Some insurance benefits pay for medical treatment for STDs or prenatal care. What if a company doesn't like the fact that a woman becomes pregnant without being married or someone contracts and STD and can have their pay docked or be fired. I agree that society as a whole should be healthier and should have access to health care, but where does the invasion and control over people's individual rights and choices end. An Orwellian society isn't one I want to live in. There are other ways to cut health care costs without companies docking groups for personal choices. Something like this can open Pandora's Box of possibilities for interference that I simply do not desire. It's about individual rights and how they are being eroded, not an issue of fat or thin. Think about it.
llh1789 llh1789 8 years
Completely fair.
llh1789 llh1789 8 years
Completely fair.
tralalala tralalala 8 years
I don't think this is a terrible idea... although initially I would feel bad about being penalized for my weight, I sure as hell would work out a lot harder haha. But, I think overall health should be taken into consideration. It shouldn't just be obese people, more like anyone with high risk behaviour. If they're going to charge people for being fat, they should charge people for smoking, any drugs use, abusing alcohol, basically, anything bad that can be tested for. If a disease or illness is self induced, people should have to pay for it on their own, the company shouldn't be held responsible.
Makeuplovingirl Makeuplovingirl 8 years
For one thing, Clarian would not be charging people who are simply overweight (BMI of over 24.9) but obese (over 30). Some of you are saying the BMI is flawed. But how many women/men do you know who have a BMI of over 30 that is all muscle? I know exactly one, my fiance's uncle and he is a bodybuilder. It's very rare and in that way I don't believe the BMI system is flawed, since most of us are not professional athletes.The reason they are not implementing such things as nutritionists on hand and discounted gym memberships is that it would cost them money, and there's no guarantee that those who needed to use them (everyone really) would use them. They're trying to save money, not spend more.There is the argument that some who are obese are genetically so, but then how do you explain the sharp rise in obesity in the past 20-30 years? Our genes haven't changed...environment has.
Makeuplovingirl Makeuplovingirl 8 years
For one thing, Clarian would not be charging people who are simply overweight (BMI of over 24.9) but obese (over 30). Some of you are saying the BMI is flawed. But how many women/men do you know who have a BMI of over 30 that is all muscle? I know exactly one, my fiance's uncle and he is a bodybuilder. It's very rare and in that way I don't believe the BMI system is flawed, since most of us are not professional athletes. The reason they are not implementing such things as nutritionists on hand and discounted gym memberships is that it would cost them money, and there's no guarantee that those who needed to use them (everyone really) would use them. They're trying to save money, not spend more. There is the argument that some who are obese are genetically so, but then how do you explain the sharp rise in obesity in the past 20-30 years? Our genes haven't changed...environment has.
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