The President's signature reform bill incentivizes companies to offer wellness programs to employees.  

Under ObamaCare companies have access to a mix of rewards or penalties – up to 30 percent of health insurance premiums, deductibles, and other costs, and even more if the programs target smoking. According to survey by a national business group though, of the two-thirds of companies which use such incentives to drive participation, a quarter are imposing penalties in those who opt out.

Other companies are upping the ante and tying incentives to more specific goals such as weight loss and lowering cholesterol. 


Like ObamaCare, these programs require a big pool of participants. If too few people sign up, the system collapses. The same principle is at play with OnamaCare, and some companies are requiring workers to participate. 


CNBC reports:

"Wellness-or-else is the trend," said workplace consultant Jon Robison of Salveo Partners.

Incentives typically take the form of cash payments or reductions in employee deductibles. Penalties include higher premiums and lower company contributions for out-of-pocket health costs.

Financial incentives, many companies say, are critical to encouraging workers to participate in wellness programs, which executives believe will save money in the long run.

But there is almost no evidence that workplace wellness programs significantly reduce those costs. That's why the financial penalties are so important to companies, critics and researchers say. They boost corporate profits by levying fines that outweigh any savings Sent from my iPhone

Some vendors that run workplace wellness for large employers promote their programs by promising to shift costs to "higher utilizers" of health care services, according to a recent analysis by Lorin Volk and Sabrina Corlette of Georgetown University Health Policy Institute – and by making workers "earn" contributions to their healthcare plans that were once automatic.

Companies insist the penalties are not intended to be money-makers, but to encourage workers to improve their health and thereby avoid serious, and expensive, illness.

Why are companies so keen on such plans?

Most large employers are self-insured, meaning they pay medical claims out of revenue. As a result, wellness penalties also accrue to the bottom line.

Is it fair that companies penalize workers for not participating in their wellness programs? It's no different from the penalties that the government will begin to dole out for not being covered.

Private companies are free to operate and do what's best for their customers and workers as well as their bottom lines. If workers are made more well as a result, can an argument be made in favor of such programs?