KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Workers And Some Employers Wary Of Incentives To Improve Health

The health law allows job-based health plans to boost the rewards for workers who adopt healthier habits.

The Boston Globe: Despite Push, US Employers Wary Of Health Incentives
Would $1,700 a year motivate you to drop a few pounds? How about $3,000 to quit smoking? That is how much, on average, the government is allowing employers to reward their workers beginning in January 2014 for doing things like losing weight, lowering their cholesterol, and keeping their blood pressure in check. A new, little-known provision of the Affordable Care Act boosts the maximum incentives for workplace programs that encourage employees to get healthier in hopes of lowering insurance costs (Jan, 12/18).

Fox News: Union Official: Smoking, Obesity, Other Health Issues Could Mean Paying More Under ObamaCare
Under ObamaCare, smoking, obesity and other health conditions sometimes penalized by wellness programs can force even those with employer-provided insurance to pay more, an officer of the National Union of Healthcare Workers said Tuesday. "I run five miles a day, I don't drink, I don't smoke. And by the Kaiser wellness program that a number of employees we represent are covered by, I'm two pounds from being overweight," said John Borsos. Kaiser said in a statement late Tuesday that its program is voluntary and does not penalize those who don't meet the program's goals, although that is not true for other programs (Angle, 12/18).

The Oregonian: Health Reform: Is Childhood Dental Insurance Required? That All Depends
Navigating health reform's rules on childhood dental insurance is turning out to be a real pain in the gums. The Affordable Care Act lists pediatric dental and vision coverage as one of 10 essential benefits that health plans must offer. But in Oregon, consumers purchasing insurance through the state's exchange don't have to buy it. And in Washington, where its purchase is required if you have kids, federal tax credits won't help offset the additional cost of the coverage (Hunsberger, 12/17).

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