.net Weight Problems Logo Bath Scale
Impacts to the Business World Employers are responsible for not only paying compensation to employees for their work, but typically for also paying for their health benefits. This decades-old practice has been in place to help keep workers healthy so that business overall succeeds. But it is a recent phenomenon historically. It was just at the turn of the 20th century that workers generally were paid per diem and health insurance didn't even exist until the 1920s. Under the modern model, an employer pays an insurance company a fee to provide health coverage for a set group of people (the employees). Based on the plan chosen, a certain number of benefits are provided. The insurer profits by contracting a number of such agreements with employers to increase the pool size of the employees covered. By taking in premiums for many, the costs for a few generally don't outweigh the gross profits of the insurer. The employers treat the expense as an operating cost and pass it on to consumers when their services or products are bought, typically in an overhead add-on charge. However, as weight problems in Americans increase, they drive up the cost of medical provision and health care. Insurers feel these expenses and annually raise premiums with new adjusted forecasts of what health care will cost covered employees. Employers then see increases in their fees charged to cover their employees. These increases can range anywhere from 8 percent to 25 percent a year. As a result, weight problems in employees can be direct hit to the bottom line. Unfortunately for employers, businesses can't just outright tell all their employees to drop 50 lbs by next month, or else. First off, they would trip a number of federal labor discrimination issues in the legal world by making such a mandate as a condition of employment, especially if the job did not originally require specific levels of fitness to begin with, nor did the industry for that matter. Second, telling one employee he's fat while rewarding another employee because she's thin can set off a civil war in the office that will deep-six office morale and productivity very quickly. Thus many employers and their personnel offices are getting creative with opt-in programs. This approach basically provides some kind of reward, usually monetary, to attract employees to address their weight problems voluntarily and lose weight. The employee agrees to sign up with the program and get tracked medically. If the weight goal is met within a certain period of time, the employee then gets the reward or bonus as agreed. Similar approaches are being tried by employers to get the physical results desired in their workforce. Unfortunately, weight problems are kept away with maintenance, not one-time changes. Thus employers still have to figure out how to tackle the ongoing issue of keeping the weight off employees, which is much harder.
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Impact to Business