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  1. #1
    Sandworm Swallows
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    So can my employer force me to do biometric testing for health insurance?

    Just got a notice from my employer Honeywell, telling me that I need to do biometric testing to make sure I don't smoke, if I don't get it done they will assume i'm a smoker and charge me $1500 extra.

    Can employers legally mandate screenings like this now? I know Honeywell got taken to court at some point I believe for this very practice a year ago. At least my co-worker was talking about it at this point.

    Edit:

    http://www.startribune.com/governmen...ram/280726482/

  2. #2
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    My company is the opposite, if we do the screening we get 1500. So maybe they by default give you 1500 and then deduct it if you don't pass.
    Sounds like a loophole to me. Maybe they do it that way so they can force you to do the test so they can get other information from you, or something else shadyish.

  3. #3
    Sandworm Swallows
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    Yeah i'd be fine signing a waiver or something attesting to not smoking, but I find having a full biometric and physical run down is shady as fuck. Never had to do that before.

  4. #4
    I'm more gentle than I look.
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    So the real question here is are you a smoker?

  5. #5
    The Optimistic Asshole
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    We do a full biometric screening for insurance. If our blood sugar is under 100, we get $x off. If our BP is under 130/80, we get $x off. We have to get a yearly physical for $x off. We also have to sign a smoking affidavit. We are charged more if we smoke. Yes, that's legal. Not sure about charging more for not doing screenings. As a previous poster said, maybe it's a discount vs normal price. Not sure what they'll do to check smoking levels. I'm assuming they're going to get your carboxyhemoglobin to see if you smoke. I have not seen companies do that before, as it's not difficult to get your COHb back to normalized levels relatively quickly. It's also not real conclusive. Second hand smoke, carbon monoxide, etc. If you're afraid, don't smoke for a couple of days and do some exercising. FWIW, I work in healthcare. No one really complains about it. Except the smokers. But fuck the smokers, they make the increased insurance costs back in smoking breaks.

  6. #6
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    At my old job they had a health fair once a year where you did a full biometric screening and all sorts of tests. If you did them you got a discount. The discount was a flat rate though and applied for everyone regardless of their health results on the tests.

  7. #7
    Sandworm Swallows
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cream Soda View Post
    So the real question here is are you a smoker?
    Nope, don't smoke at all.

    I'm curious as to what all they will record and what it will be used for/where it will be stored. Since i'm in Infosec I tend to not like a company who sucks at security holding data on me somewhere for long periods of time.

  8. #8
    The Optimistic Asshole
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meresgi View Post
    Nope, don't smoke at all.

    I'm curious as to what all they will record and what it will be used for/where it will be stored. Since i'm in Infosec I tend to not like a company who sucks at security holding data on me somewhere for long periods of time.
    Well, HIPAA prevents them from legally sharing the data with your name attached to it, so there's that. The only people allowed to have it are people directly involved. Your company, the lab/provider, and anyone you consent to having it. If you sign something, make sure you read it to make certain that you aren't consenting to the info going elsewhere.

  9. #9
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    Honeywell won that suit in November 2014. You're stuck.

    Search EEOC Honeywell for more info.

  10. #10
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    my company does this too (Xerox). im charged $600 as a smoker unless i prove im not and another $600 unless i take a wellness screening

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6souls View Post
    Honeywell won that suit in November 2014. You're stuck.

    Search EEOC Honeywell for more info.
    Fuckers, yeah I figured as much when I saw this in my mailbox.

    Well, HIPAA prevents them from legally sharing the data with your name attached to it, so there's that. The only people allowed to have it are people directly involved. Your company, the lab/provider, and anyone you consent to having it. If you sign something, make sure you read it to make certain that you aren't consenting to the info going elsewhere.
    Yeah I know the regulations, but I also know how shitty this company is at times with their IT and just overall big corp security postures, and everything that gets ex filtrated out during a leak because someone decided to store all admin passwords in a "Passwords_Here" folder or use out of date java apps for "security".

  12. #12
    The Optimistic Asshole
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meresgi View Post
    Fuckers, yeah I figured as much when I saw this in my mailbox.



    Yeah I know the regulations, but I also know how shitty this company is at times with their IT and just overall big corp security postures, and everything that gets ex filtrated out during a leak because someone decided to store all admin passwords in a "Passwords_Here" folder or use out of date java apps for "security".
    Well, then you can sue if/when that happens.

  13. #13

    At least in the United States as of now, post-Affordable Care Act "wellness programs" can have incentives up to 30% of employee health insurance benefits. That will very likely cover 1.5k USD, and doesn't really distinguish between incentives-as-requiring-fees and incentives-as-giving-you-money. This is /very/ new, but it's becoming very much an industry standard.

    The information /should/ fall under HIPAA and be secured in an encrypted format, but I'm familiar enough with industry-standard security to consider that damning with faint praise. They are also supposed to have a third party hold the pre-aggregated data, with the caveat that certain one-off conditions will likely show up through aggregation. It's not terribly useful even if it's released, though: the biometrics they're looking at involve BMI and blood serum levels, rather than DNA or fingerprints.

    In the specific case of Honeywell, whether you have your exam done at a local doctor or a testing facility, the data should be handled and stored by a separate company called Quest Diagnostics. At least from a Google search, they're doing height, weight, blood pressure, BMI, and blood cholesterol and nicotine tests. Some other companies have done blood glucose and triglycerides, but this is less common and requires that you fast before the exam. Quest isn't supposed to or allowed to pass your data directly to employers, instead using the info to give advice to Honeywell about likely insurance risk rates. Down the road, they'll also likely pester folk with elevated numbers (or who didn't get blood drawn) with fad diet and exercise advice.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyche View Post
    We do a full biometric screening for insurance. If our blood sugar is under 100, we get $x off. If our BP is under 130/80, we get $x off. We have to get a yearly physical for $x off. We also have to sign a smoking affidavit. We are charged more if we smoke. Yes, that's legal. Not sure about charging more for not doing screenings. As a previous poster said, maybe it's a discount vs normal price. Not sure what they'll do to check smoking levels. I'm assuming they're going to get your carboxyhemoglobin to see if you smoke. I have not seen companies do that before, as it's not difficult to get your COHb back to normalized levels relatively quickly. It's also not real conclusive. Second hand smoke, carbon monoxide, etc. If you're afraid, don't smoke for a couple of days and do some exercising. FWIW, I work in healthcare. No one really complains about it. Except the smokers. But fuck the smokers, they make the increased insurance costs back in smoking breaks.
    All of my yes.

  15. #15
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    Biometrics are required for health insurance discounts at my work but not required to get insurance coverage. -$45 per paycheck makes for over $1000/year saved so fuck yeah biometric me up. I am exempt from the fasting for the cholesterol test due to my type 1 diabetes and before the sugar check I can just check on my own 5-10 minutes in advance with my meter and if I were to be high (which hasn't happened in advance of one of these checks) apply a very small, corrective dose of insulin to get it back down a few dozen mg/dl.

    Thankfully the M-F 9-5 office job is like the easiest thing to manage blood sugar around since it turns breakfast and lunch into a super predictable routine with the same meals at the same time every day. I can't imagine what the inconsistent shift demands of the 21st century will subtlety mean for the working world's health and how much comparatively taxing it is on the body to constantly be making different demands on it with different shifts at different hours day to day and the 2 weeks heavily working, 1-2 weeks off alternating cycles employers have developed.

  16. #16
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    I recently did something similar for my work/insurance, but it was voluntary and they are giving me money to do it. Like you Sepukku, I had the whole diabetes thing going on so wasn't sure how I'd be for that part (I'm on my feet a lot so sometimes all my daily routine planning still doesn't keep me where I want to be). Luckily, I had a beautiful 98 and then crashed 5 min later lol.... at least I had warning due to the biometrics test.

    Only recently I've started to see any kind of biometrics test being used for insurance, is this going to be expected for most insurances going forward?

  17. #17
    BG Medical's Student of Medicine
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    They test for cotinine, a nicotine metabolite. The threshold is usually about 100-200ng/mL of blood. So if you smoke once or twice a month you're not likely to fail. Smoke more than that and you'll need to take a two week break.

    ANYTHING that metabolizes to cotinine counts.

    And yes, expect this everywhere. Insurance companies are greedy as shit and are looking for ways to hike premiums. Biometrics is the best way to do that. It's unfair in certain circumstances, but if you don't like it pick up a phone and call someone.

    Until we get a single payer system expect far more intrusive methods in the future, including having a premium hike because your genome contains a recessive gene for PKU.

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