AL charges state employees fees for health problems

The Alabama State Employees' Insurance Board has announced that it will go forward with a plan requiring state employees who are obese or have other health problems to make progress on those issues or pay a monthly charge for health insurance. Employees will be required to undergo a health screening at no charge by January 2010 or pay a $25 monthly charge for their health insurance, which workers currently receive at no cost to them. If the screening finds blood pressure elevation, high cholesterol, high glucose, or obesity--defined as a BMI of 35 or above--employees will have one year to visit a physician at no cost, enroll in a wellness problem or take their own steps to improve their health. If follow-up screenings don't show progress, employees will begin to pay the monthly surcharge in January 2011. Plan administrators expect to spend an estimated $1.6 million next year for screening and wellness programs, but believe they'll see big savings over the long term, as individuals with a BMI of 35 to 39 cost $1,748 more in annual health costs than those with a BMI of less than 25.

To learn more about this plan:
- read this Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report item

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