Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"Wellness" programs just one more way for the bosses to steal your pay

At my job, Humana health insurance - which as a corporation is just slightly less evil than Microsoft and way more evil than BP - runs our lives.

You literally cannot purchase affordable health insurance unless you quit smoking, quit drinking, quit eating like a normal human being and quit driving half a mile over the speed limit.

I am not exaggerating. To receive health care coverage from Humana, you must complete a "Vitality Assessment" including questions that are nobody's fucking business, including a physician's.

Just what "wellness" objective is served by minimum-wage teenaged dropouts giggling over the answers to questions like "How often do you feel life is not worth living?"  Again, I am not kidding.

The only exercise for which Humana gives you credit is exercise recorded by specific devices sold by - surprise! - Humana. Buy hey, what single mother of three making minimum wage doesn't have $50 lying around to buy the official pedometer her job now requires.

Humana even forces you to buy food from Walmart - food that is poisoned by pesticides in third-world hellholes - and refuses to give you credit for buying genuinely healthy food from local farmers' markets.

This is not Obamacare.  This is not the Affordable Care Act. This is motherfucking corporate assholes like Humana taking advantage of the confusion over the ACA to force workers into an Orwellian dystopia of privacy denial.

Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money:

Not at all surprising that employee wellness program shifts responsibility for unhealthy workplaces off of the employer and onto the employee:
“Many of the individual behaviors you are focusing on in your health and wellness programs [such as] stop smoking, eat better, exercise more, are in fact the consequences of the environments in which they [employees] are working,” Pfeffer says. “If you work people to death, of course they are going to smoke more, drink more and eat worse.”
Pfeffer outlined his concept of “social sustainability,” where companies invest more in making their human capital sustainable.
“Work organizations ought to be measuring the health of their workforce,” he said in his keynote speech. “Just as many places today measure carbon, renewables and environmental impacts, we ought to measure human sustainability just as much as we measure environmental sustainability.”
When determining well-being and longevity of workforces, Pfeffer said that most company wellness programs – which conventionally promote individual health and wellness, biometric screenings and smoking and drinking cessation programs – do fall short of really instituting change. Indicators such as work-family conflict, lack of job control, perceived fairness at work, as well as layoffs and economic insecurity, all play a huge role in workforce health, he added.
“The higher you are [in the organizational structure of your company] the more control you have; the lower you are, [the] more flows down hill,” Pfeffer said, while noting that low control over one’s work increases a person’s likelihood of having a cardiovascular event.
That this Stanford researcher told this to a conference of employers means I’m surprised he wasn’t howled down on the spot. If companies can charge workers higher premiums if they don’t live up to their standards of health, even more money stolen from workers!
On October 1 last year, kynect navigators were overwhelmed by Humana-enslaved Kentucky state employees begging to be freed from a "wellness" system that cut short our very lives from stress. The navigators - who do not work for Humana - often choked up themselves when they had to tell us that not only are workers with employer-run health plans not eligible for the ACA, but that even if we were, most of the ACA plans available in Kentucky are run by - you guessed it - Humana.

Well, stressing us to death before we have a chance to retire is one way to solve the pension crisis.


Anonymous said...

There is so much here that's not true that it's alarming, but that's not surprising from this site.

Kentucky's state government insurance program is self-insurance, but is administered by Humana. Only two of the four packages offered by the state require completion of the LivingWell Promise, which includes that Humana Vitality check.

The Vitality program does not lower your insurance premiums. It gives you the opportunity to earn points and win iPods and prizes like that.

You are not required to buy your food at Walmart. They have a discount program offered through Walmart, but you don't have to shop there and you don't have to buy the food that's on the program.

Why shouldn't smokers pay more for their coverage? We're already making men buy policies, and pay more for them, that cover services they don't need, like pregnancy and pap smears and the like. And if you have wrecks or traffic citations, you have to pay more for auto insurance.

I have two or three of those pedometers in my drawer at work. Guess what? I didn't have to pay a cent for them. And I don't do the Vitality thing because I don't want to. It's not worth the effort to me to maybe just win an iPod Shuffle.

And why the gratuitous slam at minimum wage workers? I thought that in your world, they are the poor downtrodden abused souls that need rescued, not ridiculed.

State employees work 37.5 hours a week and are compensated by comp time or OT pay if they work beyond that. Work more than 40 hours in a week, and you get time-and-a-half. And shift differential pay is being expanded to several classes of state employees. Vacation and sick leave is very generous. Kind of a stretch to claim state workers are being stressed to the point of being driven to smoke and drink

On October 1 last year, kynect navigators were overwhelmed by Humana-enslaved Kentucky state employees begging to be freed from a "wellness" system that cut short our very lives from stress.

I call total and complete BS on that. Care to cite a source?

Yellow Dog said...

Congratulations on a near-perfect regurgitation of Humana and state government propaganda. I sincerely hope you're getting well paid for that kind of work.

Anonymous said...

Propaganda? Hardly. I work for the state and I know what the facts are because I live it every day. I'm not thrilled with the insurance, especially the costs and the policies that were offered this year -- by the way, the policies changed because the old ones were not compliant with Obamacare and thus not grandfathered in -- but nothing you said about the state government insurance program is accurate. I don't do that Vitality stuff and I have yet to buy food at Walmart.

Still waiting for your source on the legions of state employees besieging Kynect for relief.

Yellow Dog said...

Still false, but keep trying. The key to success of a Big Lie is to keep repeating it, all facts and reality to the contrary.