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Health insurance premium penalties are taking hold

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Veridian Credit Union in Iowa issued an ultimatum to em­­ployees this year: Quit smoking and lose weight, or you’ll pay more for health insurance in 2013.

Premium penalties tied to health problems are on the rise, according to a study by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health. Researchers found that such penalties doubled between 2009 and 2011.

In 2012, nearly 40% of larger employers plan to penalize employees who don’t participate in wellness programs, or for not meeting certain health goals.

Caution: Consult your attorney. Some penalties (and other health incentives) could violate the federal Genetic Infor­ma­tion Nondiscrimination Act.

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