A couple of years ago, my husband’s work went from requiring a simple assessment of weight and height, exercise, etc. (which they paid us in gift cards to complete, by the way) to a penalizing system where if you do NOT complete it, then you pay more for health insurance. Carrot, meet stick. Not only that, but instead of it being a relatively free survey, they started paying Web MD BIG BUCKS to create a survey which gets longer, more difficult to answer, and ridiculous every year.
It actually awards smiley faces (or I’m assuming frowny ones) for how much social support you have.
- We live too far away for our family to provide instant care for us.. it doubles our salary.
- It makes it easier to buy healthier foods for our kids.
- It allows them room to play outside, it allows us our own house so we aren’t stressed out by loud neighbors.
It penalizes you for past health problems you have no control over, and cannot change.
- I have had high cholesterol in the past.
- I cannot change this with food, I tried this and it raises my cholesterol.
- I cannot take medication for this because I am breastfeeding.
- A few years ago, I miscarried, of course I felt bad. My body was a tomb for a loved and wanted child. Can’t magic that away, people.
It does not take into account any positive changes you have made that don’t make their survey.
- I have started walking down to the school bus with my kid- and while I can enter that ‘time’ on the survey, there is NO other spot to mention how active I am outside this activity.
- I lift, bend and stretch all day long. I pick up a 20 lb weight named Casey and carry her from room to room, getting a LOT of exercise–but there’s no way to calculate this into a ‘x minutes x times a week’ which is all that is allowed.
- I have dropped diet soda and have slowed down a lot on snacking at the same time.
It does not take into account any negative things that you cannot change at the moment.
- This survey penalizes me for not getting enough sleep. I barely get to talk to my husband for an hour before he has to go to bed at night. Then I’m up 2-4 times a night with the baby. I get up to help him go to work. By the time the baby is fed (again) it is time for the oldest to be awake to get ready for the bus. I could neglect my baby, I guess, but… I mean, who wants that?
- It penalizes you for ‘waist size’ whether you are pregnant or not– it also does not take into account that your core muscles relax during pregnancy and an leave you with a ’roundness’ that has no bearing on anything other than you don’t have 6 pack abs because they’ve been cut into for so many surgeries.
It penalizes you for things that happen up to a year ago.
- During my pregnancy, I was completely paranoid. Since I’m not the type to lie about it, I answered honestly that in the last year I had had anxiety —-and honestly, if you had placenta previa, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and dry skin so horrible that you were making your skin bleed by scratching it– you’d be anxious too.
- No longer pregnant, no longer have pp, no longer have high bp, no longer have gd… you know.. since those are gone, so is most of the anxiety– but post-partum hair loss is driving me crazy.
It asks the wrong questions.
- It asks if my mental or physical state keeps me from doing my job- and I say no of course– it’s not like I have a choice–but it doesn’t ask how HAPPY I am.
- It doesn’t ask how much satisfaction I get from my job. As the spouse, nothing to do with my husband’s job, obviously.
- It doesn’t ask if anything ELSE in your life satisfies you outside social support.
- It doesn’t ask if you have any reason NOT to ‘increase your score’ — such as a hernia that would keep you from lifting heavy weights, etc.
- It doesn’t ask if you have the money to join a gym or buy equipment. It doesn’t ask if you have time to do these things.
- It doesn’t ask if you have children, are breastfeeding, caring for family members, or anything else that might affect your score in either a positive or negative way.
It might be able to assess certain risks (lung cancer, diabetes, etc) but it can NOT take into account everything in your lifestyle that can affect your overall health. It can’t take into account that I really don’t want to be putting my kids in daycare. That staying at home is good for my mental and emotional health because I’m not worried about them 24/7. That I have access to healthier foods and cook better meals when I stay at home versus working, which means we all eat better….while they can assess a few things, there are so many more things they can NOT ascertain just by a few annoying survey questions.
So… therefore.. I officially hiss in your general direction survey makers.