A recent Wall Street Journal article --Wellness Programs May Face Legal Tests: Plans That Penalize Unhealthy Workers Could Get Tighter Rules--discusses the US Department of Labor’s decision to curtail the ability of employers to motivate workers to kick unhealthy habits by making health insurance more expensive for unhealthy workers than for their colleagues.
Despite these convincing numbers, workplace wellness programs ought to be cautious in their use of rewards and punishments for motivating employees to lead healthier lifestyles. There is good reason for the Department of Labor’s recently issued regulatory guidelines rejecting the use of incentives and disincentives that make health insurance more expensive for unhealthy workers than for their colleagues. I’ve identified the following three reasons why such tactics are unrealistic and won’t work for many employees.
In my next post, I discuss how a "whole-person integrated care" model addresses the particular needs of people with different personalities and levels of motivation.