Concerned about its status as the second fattest state in the county (after Mississippi), Alabama has decided on a poor health tax for 37,000 state employees to cover part of the $4 billion annual state medical bill. As devised, employees will pay an extra $25 a month for body mass indexes over 35, or for conditions of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high glucose (this is different from Japan where people are penalized based on waistlines). The program will go into effect in 2010, but fines won’t start to accumulate until 2011. This is not the first health penalty Alabama has imposed. It already charges smokers $24 a year.
Addendum: In Indiana, Clarian Health Company has decided to start charging employees as much as $60 a month (of course, it would be a health company) for missing BMI, blood sugar, or cholesterol targets. Look for more of these initiatives as policymakers and company executives look for ways to rein in medical costs.