Under the file, no good deed goes unpunished, Whole Foods CEO and Obama healthcare plan critic John Mackey has put his money where is mouth is. Whole Foods , one of the leading purveors of natural and organic food products, covers every employee who works more than 30 hours a week with a high deductible plan that doesn’t not cover pre-existing conditions until after one year of enrollment. The plan features a health saving account that employees can contribute to tax free that rolls over from year to year. In addition, he has instituted something called Team Member Healthy Discount Incentive Program, which offers employees additional discounts on groceries purchased at the chain. While all Whole Foods employees receive a 20 percent discount on groceries from the store, if they meet certain health related benchmarks, they can get a discount of up to 30 percent. The catch is that there is an accountability provision and employees have to agree to be monitored to meet thresholds across four categories: blood pressure, cholesterol level, not smoking and body mass index (BMI). Mr. Mackey is getting all kinds of flack for this. People are calling him and his company paternalistic, unfair, and discriminatory against the overweight.
But if we are really serious in this country about healthcare reform, shouldn’t we be equally serious about healthy behavior reform? With obesity as the single largest contributor to healthcare costs in our country, shouldn’t we be applauding companies that give employee incentives for healthy behavior? Last week I discussed this issue in Super Sized- My Story. And I was thrilled to see someone in this country taking the initiative to influence people in a positive way to engage in healthy behaviors that will help all of us. Thank you, Mr. Mackey!
To comment on this post, click on the title, or email the author firstname.lastname@example.org