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Indiana University’s New Health Engagement Program

August 20th's Noon Edition: A discussion of IU's new Health Engagement Program and its effects on university employees.

Indiana University logo carved from limestone

Photo: Indian University

August 20th’s Noon Edition, we discussed IU’s new Health Engagement Program.

The program encourages university employees who are part of IU’s health care plan to take charge of their health, or pay the price of increased premiums.

Our guests included Neil Theobald, Vice President and CFO of Indiana University, and Bryce Smedley, President of CWA Local 4730.

The CWA Union represents the support staff at IU Bloomington, and the IU Northwest clerical and technical staff.

  • Guest

    Isn't the Personal Health Assessment an invasion of privacy?

  • Jeapoe

    Will people who lead healthy lifestyles yet still have these medical conditions related to genetics/family history have to pay higher premiums?

    Also, will people who develop these health risks as a side effect of medication to treat a non-related condition be penalized? For instance, many psychotropic medications treating depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder cause weight gain, diabetes, and even high cholesterol and blood pressure.

  • Gail

    Is employee health data going to be placed in the Regenstrief research database? It seemed to be mentioned in the Health assessment tool I checked out.

  • sophie29

    Will there be holistic/herbal treatments? Or will it be “medicated”.

    I am all for the pedometer idea. SRSC is too expensive for me. It is ridiculous for us to pay to be healthy.

  • Leah Shopkow

    The goal of the program is excellent, to approve the health-care of individuals. The program, however, is very, very intrusive. I've filled out the form for Clarion, and it includes very personal questions, including how much I like my employer and my assessment of my mental health. I'm concerned about being pressured to follow medical fads–I remember being almost bullied by a speaker about ten years ago to take hormones. I'm unimpressed with the “firewall” between my employer and my records.

  • MDK

    Ridiculous to pay to be healthy….. The plan is to pay for being UNhealthy. A healthy lifestyle need not be expensive. Walking everyday cost no more than the price of a pair of shoes. Even making better food choices is not expensive. A healthy lifestyle takes personal EFFORT and RESPONSIBILITY.

  • Sarah

    This is a clear violation if HIPAA law: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq_hipaa_ND.html
    IU cannot legally charge employees more money if they are overweight, high cholesterol, etc. This is outrageous!

  • Guest

    When will the audio be available for this?

  • http://indianapublicmedia.org Indiana Public Media

    It should be up later this afternoon. We'll try to get it up as soon as we can.

  • Sarah

    But if you're not healthy, it's ok for the university to charge you extra?? Give me a break. This is just a money-making scheme for IU. They give us a 3% raise halfway through the fiscal year, and then add on more fees, higher premiums etc. etc. so it amounts to nothing.

  • Interested

    Where is the link to listen to this?

  • Elena Fraboschi

    The directions for biometrics testing show ignorance than may actually harm others. How could anyone give this advice,”Fast for at least 12 hours, no food or liquids (except for water)…” without as much as a caveat, “People with some medical conditions such as diabetes and hypoglycemia should not fast except as ordered by their physicians. Also, fasting is discouraged for pregnant women.”?

  • Elena Fraboschi

    Your statement implies a sort of moralistic judgment: “People are fat either because they eat too much or eat the wrong foods or exercise too little” or, in a nutshell, “You are sick because you want to be sick.” Unfortunately, this often is not the case. People can be fat because of chronic disease or because of prescribed drugs. E.g., you will gain weight if you are on cortisone therapy, as in prednisone (prescribed for a wide variety of medical conditions that, however serious, do not qualify you for disability income). Illnesses causing fluid retention (e.g., renal insufficiency, …) will also make you appear “fat.” But the IU pamphlet on BMI (“fatness”) seemed to recognize only one condition that would make you look fat, namely, “pregnancy.” As for eating “the wrong kind of foods,” you say that good food choices are not expensive. This is factually wrong. The fact is that Congress chooses to subsidize foods that we’re supposed to eat less of. In plain English, a salad costs more than a Big Mac. Some information and analysis by The Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine was published by The New York Times when they commented on the most recent federal nutrition recommendations. Thus, people who are paid less cannot afford to buy enough good foods to meet the daily calorie requirement. In sum: people with chronic illnesses and people who do not have high incomes have little or no choice about their weight or about the foods they eat: this plan PUNISHES them both.

    As for not exercising enough, the same I said above could be said here. Fatigue after 8 hours of work is normal. Many employees also have houses and families to tend to without the luxury of help from a partner or from paid house help. Some also suffer from illnesses that sap their stamina. To say that they should add regular exercise in the form of, say, one-hour daily walks amounts to requiring them to put out unusual effort. (Imagine if you required healthy people, and people with higher incomes, to enter Olympics pretrials: that would be be an apt analogy. )

    By way of summary: Exercise and good food are ideals to strive for. At present, they are beyond the reach of people with pre-existing conditions or people who face financial challenges. Only insurance companies, whose concern is not the individual's well-being but to preserve their bottom line, would advocate punishing sick or poor people via a higher premium.

  • Guest

    The audio has given me the “File not Found” error all day…can this be fixed please?

  • Ubae

    We were told the audio of this program would be up on the afternoon of the 20th. It's now the 24th and the audio is still not available although now we have bad links to click on. Is the heat too hot in the kitchen?

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