Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Insurance health risk assessments don't measure the rewards

iStockphoto.com

iStockphoto.com

Do you speed?

I ask but already know the answer as a commuter in Tampa Bay. Of course you do. In this context, you can answer honestly. I'm no cop and I can't even hear you. But if your health insurance company asked you the same question, would you be so forthcoming?

That's the quandary faced by millions of employees across the nation as the companies send out annual health risk assessment surveys to determine if your premium should be higher than the person one cubicle over from you.

What's the merit in telling the truth if you're penalized? What's the harm in lying if no doctor's physical is required? Right now, I sit among the millions pondering those questions.

I'm overweight.

Without being specific, the handy-dandy BMI scale tells me after a year of sweat, hunger and tears, I've been able to shed enough pounds to graduate from morbidly obese to just overweight. Smaller clothes, happier life, healthy cholesterol/blood pressure/etc. Things are looking up for me.

But a change in my health insurance means I had to fill out the health risk assessment this year. I'm afraid all that effort will be missed in a mire of meaningless numbers unrelated to who I am or what I've been doing.

I'm not unhealthy. I drink on special occasions and I don't smoke. The numbers might say I could stand to be 30 (!) pounds lighter, but I'm not sold. I trained for 12 weeks and finished a half marathon last month. Before that I was running three times a week, attending weekly Weight Watchers meetings and participating in a 10,000 steps challenge at work. The health assessment factored all that in when calculating my score, but if I don't lose any more weight in the next year, what will my premium look like?

For others, there are more difficult questions. Are you happy with your job? How many hours do you actually work in week? Do you feel stressed or depressed? Do you get enough sleep?

They are questions incongruent with working in the 21st century. Who doesn't feel stress or put in extra hours to maintain their job? Who doesn't feel a little depressed from time to time? We are living in the age of uncertainty, where stagnation is death. Very few people will be able to work at the same company their whole lives and retire like their parents. That means we're all starting from scratch on a new life model. How could there be no stress in that?

Most importantly, is the fact that I am living an uncertain life going to cost me more money for my health insurance?

If so, let me be the first to say, I'm a happy, well-adjusted, 40-hour-a-week-working size 0 who doesn't smoke, drink, speed, think sad thoughts or hate her job. Thanks for the check-in. Same time next year.

— rmitchell@tampabay.com

Insurance health risk assessments don't measure the rewards 12/05/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 5, 2013 12:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo

    Nation

    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  2. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies

    News

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  3. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win

    Colleges

    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  4. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  5. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin

    World

    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]