An officer of the National Union of Healthcare Workers reported that, under the ACA, smoking, obesity and other health conditions sometimes penalized by wellness programs can force even those with employer-provided insurance to pay more. Wellness programs impose various health guidelines on participants, such as bodyweight, physical exercise, and no smoking. The programs are popular among employers because employers believe they foster a healthier workforce. If an employee does not meet the program goals, however, they might face penalties under the new healthcare law. The programs are technically voluntary, however, if workers do not participate, they can be charged up to 20 percent of their health insurance premium, and that is going up to 30 percent in January. Premiums can rise as much as 50% for smokers.
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