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Wellness incentives could create healthcare loophole

Washington Post, October 16, 2009

By more than doubling the maximum penalties that companies can apply to employees who flunk medical evaluations, healthcare reform provisions passed by the Senate finance and health committees could put workers under intense financial pressure to lose weight, stop smoking, or even lower their cholesterol. The bipartisan initiative builds on a trend that sees some employers offer lower premiums to workers who complete personal health assessments, while others limit coverage for smokers. But critics say employers could use the rewards and penalties to drive some workers out of their health plans.