Exploiting Employee Exercise!

If you have to shove “wellness” down your employees’ throats, at least give them a full year to get used to the idea that you expect them to completely give up their lives in pursuit of “wellness points.”

So my company has started a BS “wellness program” because they seem to believe that they can save a few bucks on insurance expenditures by exploiting their employees’ health information. Cool! (They’re 100% incorrect, but whatevs.)

Here’s how it works: Want a decent amount off of your health and life insurance expense for the year? Give all of your personal health information to this third-party company, buy a fitness tracker (and get 10,000 steps a day, or else it doesn’t count), get a “health assessment” (a full physical!) from your doctor and then sign over all the results to the third-party company, get a flu shot, run a few 5ks, etc.! See? It’s easy! AND THAT’S NOT ALL! You can get some third-party-branded craptastic merchandise if you earn enough points! Good luck!

Someone please explain to me why I should voluntarily(!!!) give up my HIPAA-protected information to a third-party, for-profit company. Tell me who in his or her right mind is happy to do this (fitness bucks! yeah! c’mon, rhonda! we can totes earn the fitness umbrella! <3). Should I actually feel comfortable uploading my blood pressure, cholesterol counts, blood test results, etc.?

I've learned a few very important things from this ill-advised, company-promoted foray into the "wellness" space:

1) I will have to take time off of work in order to get 10,000 steps daily. My job requires that I be present within the 3 1/2 walls of my cubicle for the majority of the day, so how does the company expect me to move around enough to get in that many steps?

2) I would have loved to have been the "wellness salesperson" who sold my company on this whole program. I bet he or she was wearing spandex and was carrying some high-tech water bottle. (I hate "fitness people," but that's a topic for a whole other blog post.)

3) I might be a little overprotective of my health information. Maybe.

4) The only shining part of this whole deal is this: I've discovered that I look incredibly sexy in yoga pants. …so at least I've got that going for me.

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