Workplaces everywhere have been starting what are called Wellness Programs. Under these programs, companies are able to punish workers for not meeting certain health requirements that the companies choose. Companies are setting limits on body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cigarette smoking, minimum exercise requirements and more. And if the guidelines aren’t met, health care costs can go up and workers can be suspended, miss out on bonuses, or even be fired.
Already, 94 percent of workplaces with over 200 workers are now using these programs and more companies are signing up daily. Companies try to pretend that these programs are for our own good, but Wellness programs are part of the same attacks shifting higher medical costs onto workers’ backs. Starting in 2014, under the Affordable Care Act, companies will be able to charge individuals an extra 30 percent of their health-plan premium for pre-existing conditions – over one thousand dollars a year for the average worker, essentially giving companies the right to discriminate.
At many workplaces management has tried to pit workers against each other, punishing whole departments if one person doesn’t meet the new health requirements. The bosses want workers to act like management and blame each other if our health is not up to company standards. This way management wins double – they get to penalize workers and divide us even further in the process.
When it comes to our actual everyday health, Wellness Programs are nothing but a sick joke. The only thing getting healthier from all of this is the profits of our bosses.