I have a plea for help from fellow Kossacks here regarding HIPAA or insurance laws. Here's the backstory:
Economic tough times, expensive healthcare and all that (see also: 318,297 diaries over the last twelve months)...low and behold I've ended working retail here in Pennsylvania in order to get a bit of cash and some benefits. The position is Union, so the benefits have been excellent...excellent, that is, until our union renegotiated our contract with the Company. Now healthcare will start to cost real money with real deductibles. Yeah...I know, I know...it had to happen sometime, right? I guess so...I'm pretty resigned to it, though $12 an hour is starting to look REALLY particularly small.
More over the fold:
So what's the problem? The problem is our union - who provides our benefits through Independence Blue Cross (third party administered by Keystone Health Plans East)has just asked us to fill out a Personal Health Profile. Wait...they didn't actually ask us to do it. They told us if we didn't submit it we would be forced to pay a $10 monthly penalty. The Personal Health Profile is supposed to benefit us...they'll be able to tell if we have certain risk factors, and make health recommendations which allow us to proactively manage our lifestyles. It's so catchy it's almost awesome. "Proactively manage our lifestyles to improve our health." It's a new paradigm, is what it is. Tell us everything about yourself, and we'll give you some health advice. (Which you shouldn't follow without your doctor's okay, cause after all, we ain't doctors, we're union reps. But tell us all your private details anyway, 'cause having lots of information about you is cool.)
So what do they want me to tell them? Typical stuff - weight, height, waist measurement, blood pressure, cholesterol, non/smoker, non/drinker, list of conditions of you may have been diagnosed with and, among loads of other personal stuff....wait for it....mental health questions. ("Do you get angry when someone says you've had too much to drink? How angry do you get, on a scale of 1 to 5?") So, if I opt not to tell them these things, they're gonna hit me with a $10 fee.
Can they do that? Anyone? Anyone?