Letter to the editor | Wellness plan seems invasive

July 24, 2013 

In an effort to manage health care costs, Penn State has implemented a new “wellness” program intended to raise employees’ awareness about potential health threats.

While I’m all for the idea of lowering health care costs through preventive medicine, Penn State’s new program is atypically intrusive relative to similar programs implemented elsewhere and penalizes those who already take care of themselves and see a physician regularly.

Penn State’s program requires a biometric screening by Nov. 22, including a blood test that requires fasting. If an employee has already had an annual physical that included this blood work, this screening is needlessly redundant, wasting time and money.

But the only way to opt out of the screening is to call Highmark and have a form mailed to you for your doctor to complete (it is unavailable by download); have your doctor complete the form (you incur any costs for doing so); retrieve the completed form and submit it to Highmark (through an unspecified mechanism); or assume responsibility for ensuring that Highmark handles the form correctly.

This biometric screening is in addition to disclosure of the exact information in Highmark’s online wellness survey, which we are also required to complete.

If employee wellness is the real goal (rather than insurance company profits because Highmark administers these screenings), then they would make it as easy — rather than as difficult — as possible to provide this information.

Way to waste money and punish the innocent, Penn State.

Tim Pollock

Port Matilda

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