GREENSBORO, N.C. — You trust your job with a certain amount of personal information. That's why you may sign up for a wellness program offered by your employee insurance.
But that program may actually be run by an outside entity who may be looking at your personal health information.
According to a Kaiser family foundation survey, Last year, 84% of companies with 200 employees or more had some kind of wellness program.
50% of smaller ones did as well. It's estimated that workplace wellness is an $8 billion dollar industry.
However, experts warn there are privacy concerns with these programs. One of the main issues is whether or not the program has to run under HIPPAA privacy rules. If they are, then they're under the same rules your doctor has to follow. If they're not, they're free to use your health information however they want.
If your company is self-insured and offers a program through that plan its subject to HIPAA rules as it has 50 or more participants.
If it's run by an outside vendor, they're not regulated at all. And that information can be sold to advertisers who may send you emails or junk mail for your health concerns.
So what can you do? Ask Human resources if that weight loss or wellness program at your job is covered by HIPAA.
But you also need to consider what type of program you're signing up for. Consumer Reports has several other details you need to consider. Click here to read it.