State workers covered by insurance through the Public Employee Benefit Board are supposed to fill out an online assessment to steer them toward a life of good habits. If they don’t, they will be charged a monthly penalty for their health coverage, $17.50 for individuals and $35 per couple.
These assessments are an intrusion. But intrusiveness is not the worst part of it. The worst part is that here is another case of somebody making you jump through a hoop or you’ll be punished, as though in our overregulated life we don’t have enough of that already.
Some companies with group insurance have taken a different approach. They pay participants a bonus if they do the assessment and perform some other tasks, such as passing online courses in nutrition or health.
Because there’s no “penalty,” this is more benign. But it’s still an extra chore that people may not wish to endure.
About 10,000 Oregon public employees have refused to take the assessment. The penalty should be canceled. For striking a small blow for freedom, they should not have to pay. (hh)