Considering our current viral interloper, health care and health insurance are more important than ever. We hear reports of parents too afraid of the specter of homelessness to seek medical attention for sick children. Anecdotal stories of entire families struggling through Corona infection, without doctor involvement, have become commonplace. If we didn’t know that health care was important in 2019, 2020 has shown us how devastating being without it can be.
The employers at Bourke Accounting know that healthy workers are productive workers. It’s because of this that Bourke employees are offered decent insurance; besides some copays and deductibles here and there, our insurance is paid 100% by the bosses. All we had to do was sit on our butts and make doctor appointments. Yes, it certainly was the good life. Oh, did you notice the past tense? Recently our insurance premiums went up and Bourke employees were given an option to take some of the financial pressure off of our fearless leaders. Being team players, we all agreed to said option, but now it’s clear that the Devil invented the Fitbit.
Wellness incentives are nothing new in the workplace – perhaps the crew decides to engage in a healthy eating contest or a weight loss competition with the winner getting a day off. Our new Fitbit-adorned incentive is sort of like that, but a lot more intensive. By synching our Fitbits to a certain insurance carrier’s application, we earn points for things like daily workouts and getting enough rest. Oddly, more points are awarded for dental exams and annual physicals than actually getting physical. Theoretically, the premiums get lower as we get healthier; this is, of course, a good thing, as preventative treatment now avoids heartache (and heart attacks) later.
However, this program is not without its drawbacks. In 2018, the West Virginia Public Employee Insurance Agency (PEIA) attempted to force all of its school workers to participate. Anyone who refused was “charged an additional $25 per month, up to a $300 yearly burden” (NewRepublic.com). That’s a pretty big punishment for teachers with close to the lowest salaries in the US. After the teachers and bus drivers went on strike for nine days, the PEIA canceled the contract with the insurance company and found another way to save money.
Another issue with this sort of insurance program is that could prove detrimental. Those with disabilities or eating disorders could end up hurting themselves in order to meet their “goals.” In addition, larger employees might feel discriminated against in the event that they can’t perform the physical challenges (NewRepublic.com). Finally, a study by the American Journal of Managed Care found that there “were no significant changes in clinical measures of health, absenteeism or work performance” (AJMC.com) as a result of these programs. Since those rubrics are the reason for these programs, that’s a bit of bad news.
Most people don’t want to engage in work when they leave the office. Most people don’t want to be tracked like an exotic animal in a nature preserve. These programs are simply intrusive; furthermore, it’s distasteful to have to dance like a trained monkey in order to afford a doctor’s visit. However, needs must when the Devil drives and my Devil-driven Fitbit is telling me it’s time to walk another 25 steps.
Whether voluntarily or in, Bourke Accounting bookkeepers and tax preparers are on the road to wellness! When you see your Bourke Accounting rep, don’t be surprised if you notice a lot of marching in place. Naturally, you’re welcome to join! However, even with a Fitbit secured, your needs are even more of a priority than 250 steps an hour. Wish us luck, please and thank you…
Written by Sue H.