Aurora Healthcare employees outraged

CREATED Jan. 7, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - It's an industry based on healthcare, but employees at Aurora Healthcare aren't too keen about being told how to care for themselves.

Workers are fired up over a new plan to offer health insurance incentives based on their Body Mass Index, or BMI.

In a letter to staffers, managers announced a $13.33 credit every two weeks  for folks who meet a 'weight target' or BMI of 30.

The letter goes on to explain nearly two-thirds of the company's caregivers were obese or overweight.

"If you ask any fitness professional,  you know, personal trainers, they all say don't focus on a number. Focus on how you feel. How your clothes fit," said one worker, who wished to remain anonymous.

Aurora Healthcare's Chief Clinical Officer tells me the incentive plan is not uncommon throughout the industry. Dr. Bruce van Cleave believes it's a way to encourage employees to attain a healthy weight.

"They can lose the weight. They can participate in a program like Weight Watchers or programs we have designed ourselves to lose weight," van Cleave explained.

Aurora does offer to pay a portion of the costs involved with weight loss programs, but some employees are concerned the costs of keeping healthy may outweigh the savings.

"We feel as though aurora healthcare isn't concerned ultimately about their employees.. Maybe they're concerned about their own budget right now," said one employee.

Workers willing to participate will be weighed. The health insurance credits start in 2014.