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October 28, 2010 11:00 AM Indiana University’s Questionable Questionnaire

By Daniel Luzer

Indiana University briefly considered a plan to make all employees fill out an “online assessment of health risks” or pay extra in health care premiums. The school scrapped the plan. According to an Associated Press article in the Chicago Tribune:

About 400 faculty and staff signed an online petition asking President Michael A. McRobbie to suspend the Health Engagement Program for 2011.
The university announced the program in August, saying it wanted to create incentives for people to reduce their health risks. The university said then that those who declined to participate would pay $480 to $1,920 more a year for family coverage.

Faculty and staff objected to the survey, which included questions about stress, alcohol intake, and religious practices, as an invasion of privacy.

The school said it just wanted to facilitate a system to induce employees to think about how their lifestyle choices affected their health. But IU backed down under pressure.

IU decided it would just give the premium reduction to all employees covered under their plan. The university is keeping a few parts of the Health Engagement Program, however. According to an article in the school’s student newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student, by Nathan Miller: “The Tobacco-free Affidavit is for employees and spouses/domestic partners who certify that he or she does not use tobacco products.”

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer