Can my employer force me to meet their pre-determined criteria for health insurance credits?

UPDATED: Dec 30, 2010

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Can my employer force me to meet their pre-determined criteria for health insurance credits?

I work for a company that is making it mandatory to take a health screening for waist measurements, HDL levels, glucose levels, blood pressure levels, and triglyceride levels in order to keep a credit of $25 biweekly against our health insurance. According to the printed info, you will be given the test results and criteria will be set for you to bring the results into a pre-determined alignment. In 6 months you will be screened again and if you do not meet the criteria you will loose the credit for the rest of the year. For the last 2 years we have had to fill out an on-line survey in order to get the credit and we also had to do that this year. My question is how is it legal for my employer to demand that I meet a health criteria set by them and do I legally have a right to sue if I loose my credit because I don’t meet their criteria within the 6 months?

Asked on December 30, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Employer provided health insurance is not a right--and it won't be, even when the health reform legislation goes into effect, since employers may opt to pay a fine or penalty instead of providing it. Since it's not a right, but rather a "perk" or voluntarily provided benefit, employers may put different criteria or conditions on it, so long as they do not discriminate against a protected category (e.g. race, religion, age over 40, sex, or disability status) and do not violate a few other rules, like not discriminating in favor of highly compensated employees. In this case, offering a credit--an extra benefit--to those who meet certain health criteria which will help the employer itself reduce its costs is perfectly legal. Remember: not only does the employer not need to offer health insurance, it does not need to offer any opportunity for a credit at all.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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