Businesses are on board with this, because health insurance is the most expensive employer-paid benefit. So if they know who to give the stink-eye to on Doughnut Friday, they can potentially save themselves money in the long run. While fitness bracelets are still relatively rare, companies are already moving toward this insurance model by offering tiered healthcare. Everyone would start in the lowest category, but if you quit smoking, lose weight, and lower your blood pressure, you could move up into higher levels, which have lower co-pays and deductibles. It's like a healthier and more irritating version of Candy Crush.
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"Stop sending me invites, Phyllis! If I wanted the damn gold level, I know where to get it!"
Where this gets scary is when employees don't do these things, in which case they'll get hammered with huge spikes in premiums. Cleveland Clinic employees were threatened with up to 21 percent increases if they didn't join the hospital's wellness program. And if they did join but failed to meet their goals, they still got health-smacked with a 9 percent hike in their insurance costs. At Penn State, professors and other university employees had to fill out a health risk questionnaire that wanted to know if they had gotten divorced or were likely to produce any expensive offspring in the near future. Employees who didn't fill out the form were fined $100 a month until somebody presumably reminded Penn State that they really didn't need any more bad press, and the administration canned the idea.
Companies Will Give You Implants
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Most health insurance won't cover the most, uh, normal kinds of implants. No company wants to pay to put something unnecessary inside the bodies of its employees. On a very related note, here's a company offering implantable RFID chips to employers.
"Using our 'applicator,' the process is over quickly and efficiently."
A group of Swedish computer nerds have created an RFID chip that's the size of a grain of rice (or a moderate zit, once implanted) and can be injected into your hand. Once you've been chipped like a Labrador with a poor sense of direction, your body becomes your ID badge. With a wave of your cyborg hand, you can buy stuff from the cafeteria, access the copier, and even open doors. Why this is an improvement over the time-tested method of sticking your badge in your front pocket and pelvic thrusting towards the sensors is unclear, especially considering ID badges are cheaper and don't have to be cut out of you if you ever decide to quit.
The current chips are only RFID, which means that they only work in close contact with sensors, so your boss can't track you once you leave the building. However, the company is already promising increased functionality and features, and since GPS tracking chips are currently available for dogs, it's only a matter of time until your boss starts sending out meeting notices for the "Chips and Salsa Team-Building Funday!"
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"ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY"
When he's not starring in employee training videos, Chris writes for his website and tweets.
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