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Workers Compelled to Stay in Shape to Avoid Pay Cuts

Starting 2009 if your health conditions dont measure to regular standards then you would see a shrinking pay check, Indianapolis hospital system has announced. Workers, who fail to measure up in five areas, including body mass and blood pressure, will have up to $30 deducted from each biweekly paycheck if they can't prove to their employer that they're working to improve their health. Workers who smoke will pay $5 extra every two weeks starting in 2008.

Clarian Health will be charging workers up to $30 every two weeks for insurance if they let health risks such as smoking or high cholesterol go unchecked.

"I think it's a good idea," said Mindy Blandford, a Clarian registered nurse. "It will cut down on smoking and help people to do better with lifestyle."

But some are not in agreement with the program as they feel it is an intrusion in their personal life. Some experts believe that Clarians approach of charging workers for unhealthy measurements is more aggressive than most.

Clarian said it is giving its employees time to understand the changes and make improvements before most of the extra charges take effect. Employers, who typically pay the bulk of employee health insurance premiums, are allowed by law to use financial incentives in wellness programs to motivate workers to adopt more healthy lifestyles, said Mike MacLean, a partner at Indianapolis law firm Baker & Daniels, giving credence to the Clarian program.

The Clarian move is part of a change fueled by well-meaning, cost-conscious executives who are looking for ways to trim bottom lines along with waist lines.

Now there is a growing industry of wellness advisers, counselors and consultants thriving, as corporate America tries to increase productivity and control insurance costs by helping its employees get healthy and shed pounds.

More employers are zeroing in on obesity and smoking as the primary culprits for the e
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