According to Healthline, “A biometric screening is a clinical screening that’s done to measure certain physical characteristics. It can be used to assess your: height, weight, BMI, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.” The test is meant to screen you for concerns such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease—this is not to be confused with a physical that takes place in your doctor’s office. Most of the time, a biometric screening is offered by your employer or school.
In addition, there are usually incentives to make sure more employees participate in the screening. Healthline also adds that a study in 2015 showed “Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) found that when employers offered financial incentives for screening, participation increased by 55 percent.”
Why Did Biometric Screening Start
Biometric screening has been offered at companies annually due to the never ending inflation of health care costs. With that being said, companies want to make sure that their employees and their dependents are healthy. Premise Health writes in an article explaining that: “While companies never receive individual results, they do receive a snapshot of the overall, aggregate health results based on the biometric screenings. This information gives them important insight that can help them improve health benefits to better meet the needs of their people.” Therefore, they want to make sure that they are providing the best care and wellness services to their employees.
It is also important to add, the reason for this—is not for the employer but for the employee. Life can often get in the way and next thing he/she knows they cannot remember the last time they had a wellness visit with their doctor. With that being said, important screenings can be missed—which in some cases, can be life threatening.
How Companies Are Implementing It
Although employees are not forced to participate in biometric screening, incentives are usually involved, which can include gift cards, bonuses, etc. Keenan Knowledge Center also includes that paid time off, prizes, and discounts on insurance premiums can be included as well. “In 2020, the average national cost for health insurance is $456 for an individual and $1,152 for a family per month.” So when it comes to a discount for insurance and getting a biometric screening, there is nothing but benefits.
A lot of employees question why any employer would need such personal information to be collected by them, but no individual information is ever shared. Not only are companies stressing the importance of them—the companies who provide the screenings such as Quest Diagnostics said: “According to our database, over 37 percent of participants at risk for Metabolic Syndrome in 2018 based on failing 3 of 5 clinical factors, were no longer at risk in 2019.” Biometric screenings are meant to improve overall health and to warn you of life-changing conditions that could be developing without your knowledge.
Every test, every employer, every employee is different when it comes to the matter or understanding biometric screening. Like mentioned previous, the ever rising cost of healthcare has put an abundance of pressure on companies. Being able to provide a test by your employer to screen for hazardous health conditions can lower insurance premiums, help better understand the workplace and grow the health and wellness incentives in general.
Due to HIPAA, there are not any major privacy concerns that should cause a company to turn away from biometric screenings. These tests could help better the overall health of the workplace and provide a more positive place to work in. Work can become a stressful environment and can be difficult to manage everyday life. With yearly screenings in the workplace, it is hopeful that it will consistently provide positive feedback.