HealthWe’ve all heard about businesses that offer their employees incentives for improving their health and, thus, reducing the business’s health care costs.

I guess it was just a matter of time before the opposite took place.

Indianapolis-based Clarian Health plans to begin charging its employees more for health benefits if they smoke or have issues like high cholesterol levels or obesity. It’s certainly an unorthodox approach, but according to this Workforce Management article, “it is permitted under the final rules the federal government issued in December 2006 to ensure that wellness programs comply with the nondiscrimination provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.”

Such practices likely will become more common as time goes on. “Sixty-two percent of 135 top executives responding to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ May 1 Management Barometer survey said that their companies should require employees who exhibit unhealthy behaviors such as smoking or obesity to pay a greater share of their health benefit costs,” the article states. “This compares with 48 percent who expressed such a view in PwC’s last such survey in 2005.”

What do you think of this practice?

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