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Employee Health Screenings: How Much Testing is Too Much?

Posted, by Deborah Merkin
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As we enter the season of open enrollment employers are looking for ways to minimize health care costs and employees are already thinking about new years resolutions and how they can get healthy “after the holidays.” According to a Kaiser Family Foundation report, half of large employers in America require employees to submit to some time of biometric screening. However, it is important for employers to consider how required employee health screenings affect their relationship with employees. So what’s the risk? Employees are all adults, and they ultimately can choose when to go to the doctor. Some go to the doctor regularly, others choose to go less often. Still others might be generally healthy but don’t check in at the doctor’s office as much as they should. So requiring biometric screening can feel invasive and create the illusion of “forcing” employees to go to the doctor, potentially against their general practice.

The other issue employers can run into is what tests they require employees to subject themselves to. Different health problems affect different age groups and demographics. Imagine having a bunch of 23 year olds getting cholesterol testing every year even if they aren’t at risk or the tests aren't recommended by their doctors. These types of mandates do not make sense. So, if your employee health and wellness program is going to include some kind of biometric screening, either work through your insurance policy to track employee testing or use health care standard preventative testing guidelines to build age range specific requirements. Biometric screening has arguably been the most sensitive piece of the employee health and wellness craze. Screenings are not a one-size-fits-all situation so take count of your employees and adjust your biometric screening requirements to suit your employees and their specific health needs and risks. Want more information on employee health screenings? Check out
this article from
NPR Health.

Topics: Workplace Health & Wellness, Healthcare

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