Are you a fat RN? Then your insurance might go up - significantly.

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    Aurora Healthcare employees outraged

    It's an industry based on healthcare, but employees at Aurora Healthcare aren't too keen about being told how to care for themselves.Workers are fired up over a new plan to offer health insurance incentives based on their Body Mass Index, or BMI.

    In a letter to staffers, managers announced a $13.33 credit every two weeks for folks who meet a 'weight target' or BMI of 30. The letter goes on to explain nearly two-thirds of the company's caregivers were obese or overweight.

    "If you ask any fitness professional, you know, personal trainers, they all say don't focus on a number. Focus on how you feel. How your clothes fit," said one worker, who wished to remain anonymous. Aurora Healthcare's Chief Clinical Officer says the incentive plan is not uncommon throughout the industry. Dr. Bruce van Cleave believes it's a way to encourage employees to attain a healthy weight.

    "They can lose the weight. They can participate in a program like Weight Watchers or programs we have designed ourselves to lose weight," van Cleave explained. Aurora does offer to pay a portion of the costs involved with weight loss programs, but some employees are concerned the costs of keeping healthy may outweigh the savings. "We feel as though aurora healthcare isn't concerned ultimately about their employees. Maybe they're concerned about their own budget right now," said one employee.

    Workers willing to participate will be weighed. The health insurance credits start next year.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Jan 8, '13
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  4. 36 Comments so far...

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    I agree this kind of program is becoming more common among healthcare employers (at least, that's been my observation/experience over the last several years), and I think it makes sense.
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    My employer started a similar program last year -- but not quite as bad in some respects. They set no target weight or other single health parameter as a criteria. However, we have to be enrolled in their health maintenance plan in order to avoid a $500/year surcharge to our insurance premium. We have to have a yearly health screening and then keep appointments with the NP/PA health maintenance team to avoid the surcharge. So far, going to see them is enough -- there are no specific targets for weight, cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc. YET. But to me, it looks as though required targets are coming.

    I have mixed feelings about it. The screenings are a good thing. Some of our employees would never be screened if it wasn't required of them (for free). And I am glad that they are learning that they have high BP, diabetes, etc. And having the free health maintanence counseling/coaching is another good idea. But I worry about the future -- and the possibility of setting up targets that have to maintained. That seems to be going too far for my taste.
    MBARNBSN and Not_A_Hat_Person like this.
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    A credit for people under a certain BMI isn't necessarily the same as insurance going up, though. It's offering a reward/incentive, rather than an penalty.
    KelRN215, purrrfectionist, elkpark, and 1 other like this.
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    Don't see the issue here. Being overweight costs insurance companies more ...why should my premiums increase because of your lifestyle choice?
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    I didn't imply that there was a problem with the program in theory, I just posted for discussion. However, I worry like some others about how they measure this and what they want you to do to stay within their standards. i.e. going to weekly meetings. That may not work for everyone, especially those with kids. Or with all the overtime people are working because of low staffing or the shear amount of stress the job puts on you because of low staffing or culture, that can cause stress eating or bad eating habits.

    I agree that nurses should set the example for a healthy weight, but I always worry about these programs and how they are administered.
  10. 0
    My place bases it on B/P, smoking and waist/hip circumrance and some labs too.
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    BMI is a poor indicator of health. It was designed to measure weight among populations, not individuals, and it doesn't consider things like muscle mass or pregnancy. Would a woman with a healthy BMI be charged extra if pregnancy pushed her into an unhealthy BMI? What about a man who gained a lot of muscle? Would a person with type 1 diabetes and a BMI of 18 (underweight) pay more less than someone with a BMI of 37 and normal labs?
    KelRN215, nursel56, Orange Tree, and 3 others like this.
  12. 5
    So, say I can run a 5k and my normal BMI co-worker gets out of breath walking a flight of stairs. Do they still get the discount? BMI is a joke. Easy to calculate and assign, but a horrible indicaor of overall health.
    KelRN215, nuangel1, elprup, and 2 others like this.
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    Why just pick on the people with a high BMI? Why not pick on people who have other risk factors, such as:

    ... people with a history of cancer in the families

    ... women within child-bearing age who might get pregnant

    ... people with a history of heart disease in their families

    ... people who engage in sports/leisure activities that are injury prone (such as skiing, basketball, etc.)
    nursel56, nuangel1, Orange Tree, and 2 others like this.


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