Tag Archives: Premium Differentials

Update to: The Dodo Bird and Employee Wellness Programs – The Phone Call

11/6/16

News Flash, The Dodo Bird is Still Alive:

Well another year has rolled around and I was talking to the person who’s experience with their wellness program I had discussed below. Lo and behold, the problems I had originally documented continue. This is a common example and explains why so many wellness programs should be discontinued.

It was time for next years enrollment period for her insurance and she needed to get a number of points, schedule a coaching visit and get her biometrics and lab work completed to qualify for the premium differential.

The lab work requirement upset her as she had just gotten all the lab work done by her PCP the month earlier, but no, those lab results couldn’t be used. So the vendor repeated all the lab work her PCP had done and more, most of which were absolutely unnecessary based upon USPSTF guidelines. But hey let’s go ahead and waste some money and do a few unnecessary tests.  That’s become the norm for many a wellness program.

As for getting the points, she recorded her exercise by selecting the boxes to document 30 minutes per day. That was the correct answer. Wink…

She was also required to speak with a coach so she had previously set that up, and when asked by the coach if she could take up some new behaviors,

said “oh yes that’s a good idea, I will.”  Wink..

The coach asked if she could follow-up in 3 months

“of course” she said

During the follow-up call, she dutifully reported to her coach that in fact the suggestions were a good idea and yes she had changed her behavior. Wink, wink…

“Congratulations” said the coach as she documented her successful intervention in the wellness vendors system.

Premium differential achieved.

I know exactly what this vendor’s annual report will look like. They’ll be touting all the calls they made, engagement they got, and behavior change achieved.

Don’t you just love self reported data.

Perhaps the vendor involved should call the Validation Institute and get some suggestions on how to measure their program so they can actually understand that their reported results are just plain wrong.

I can hear Al Lewis saying “I told you so”, but perhaps more interesting would be calling this vendor to testify and document why their program should be continued as part of the AARP lawsuit against the EEOC.

For the original story keep reading

Original Post

Given todays news report that the Feds say “Smokers are Lying on Obamacare Enrollment Forms” I thought I would publish this post written well over a year ago.  Seem’s it’s not just those enrolling on the exchanges who may be misrepresenting this important information, probably in ways you’d never think.

We have a crisis in the wellness program industry.

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Fitness Trackers, Not so Accurate After All

As employers continue to push  employee health improvement or Wellness programs, they are looking at gathering more “validated” results instead of relying on the always questionable self reported data.  In particular the tracking of physical activity is one that has gotten much attention and companies now hand out Fitbits, Garmin devices, Jawbones and even Apple watches to track people’s walking and running. These are often tied to incentives for participation and many are associated with premium reductions.

The question is, just how accurate are these things and might there be some negative legal liability associated with their use?  I can tell you from having used a few including Fitbits, Garmin, and Basis as well as some GPS trackers, there are clearly issues, which I’ve highlighted in other posts. For instance, one can often get more steps for driving on a bumpy road, brushing one’s teeth, drying off after a shower and a myriad of other ways.  On the flip side, some devices worked while I was operating a power mower and others did not count any steps at all.

Now an article comes out that places even further doubt regarding the use of some of these devices.  You can read it here:

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