One of weird realities of reporting is the discovery that every position — every position — has an opposite somewhere in the reportable universe.
Somewhere out there, there’s an interest group that strongly opposes Santa Claus. A physician group that strongly opposes the concept of insurer provider networks sends me well-written e-mail every month or so. And now there are large, powerful, visible groups of people who are really skeptical about wellness programs.
In California, for example, the state Senate is seriously considering a bill, state Senate Bill 189, that would forbid group plans from using changes in plan premiums, deductibles, co-payments or coinsurance amounts as wellness program incentives.
One reason is because the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) makes wellness programs one of the few mechanisms that an individual or small-group insurer can use to charge one individual more than it charges another individual.
Some have argued that poor people are often sick, and that wellness program financial incentives that simply pinch high-income workers may clobber low-income workers.
The California lawmaker who introduced S.B. 189 also argued that the evidence supporting the value of wellness programs is weak.
My feeling is that this issue is really a disability insurance issue.
The best way to hold down disability claims costs is to keep people healthy, so that they never have to think of filing claims.