Morning Poll: Is Asking County Employees to Submit to Saliva Swabs for Nicotine Analysis an Invasion of Privacy?

Categories: Morning Poll
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www.sonofthesouth.com
The Arizona Republic yesterday got the scoop that several Maricopa County employees are getting fussy over having to submit to saliva swabs for nicotine analysis to prove that they don't use tobacco products in order to be eligible for lower insurance premiums than non-tobbacco using employees.

According the Republic, the difference in premiums between smokers and non-smokers is about $480 per year.

See the Republic's article here.

The move is part of a trend, the Republic claims, to create an incentive for employees to live healthier lifestyles, although, while the practice is more common in the private sector, Maricopa County is among the first public-sector workplaces to implement such a policy.

The county is in the process of trying to trim some of its health care costs for employees, but some workers feel it's an invasion of their privacy, and the information taken from the swabs could be used to get other information about employees.

Currently, to qualify for the non-smoker premium rate, all employees need to do is check a box saying they don't use tobacco products, which is real easy to do, especially if the employee's a smoker who wants the lower rate.

In other words, the county is trying to save money on health care costs for employees by asking workers to prove that they aren't smokers in order to qualify for the lower rate. In turn, requiring employees to prove they don't smoke could encourage people to quit -- which could
also save the county money on health care costs. But it's still a little nanny-state-ish, if you ask us.

We want to know what you think: is asking county employees to prove they don't use tobacco via-a cheek swab an invasion of privacy?

Cast your vote below:

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20 comments
Annie-ee
Annie-ee

The issue is of invasion of privacy but let's talk about this optional incentive, it's a CHARGE, a FINE, a FEE of $20.00 per paycheck, they just disguise it as an incentive because according to HIPPA rules, they CANNOT charge, so it's a play on words. If it was really associated with the cost of the insurance company (Cigna) charging higher premiums for smokers, then why is the $20.00 per paycheck, a separate line item on the employees paychecks? under deductions Cigna insurance cost you pay is listed separate from the $20.00 smokers fee on the paystubs? why not combine it under Cigna insurance costs?? so where does that money go? not to Cigna....try the Wellness group. They also charge $10.00 per paycheck for employees who will not take their VOLUNTARY wellness assessment tests...yes it's called voluntary but a separate deduction on your paystub.

Not only does Maricopa county want to know about your smoking behavior but they want to know if anyone in your household smokes. Maricopa County does not believe you when you answer the question on paper of whether or not you smoke, so you have to prove yourself by way of giving your DNA, yet employees are to believe the County when they say the swab is only to see who smokes, just believe them because they don't lie right?.

This is all about lifestyle behaviors that they do not agree with, saying the cost of higher healthcare is due to certain behaviors. I remember when the high tobacco tax was put in place and the reasoning was to cover smokers healthcare down the line, but I guess that has since changed, they decided to use that money for other things like to cover the costs of people with AIDS. So let's talk about lifestyle behaviors that cause higher healthcare costs, you've got smoking, drinking, obesity, drug users, gay people and others that choose risky lifestyle that make them suseptible to AIDS, diabetes, all these behaviors although most are legal, are not only costlier but can harm the productivity of an employees work because they are sick more often, miss work,

This is just the beginning, we are about to be categorized and then pay extra for each category you fall under, because it's against the law to charge higher premiums to an individual... but not to a GROUP (category) of those individuals with the same behaviors. This is control, this is a total invasion of privacy, this is also none of Maricopa County's or should I say the Wellness group's business. If I have a medical issue I want to address, I will address it in private with my Doctor, not with public sector employees from the wellness group of Maricopa county.

I see a big huge lawsuit coming their way.

Don't put that in your mouth
Don't put that in your mouth

For those who've never graduated from the Arizona Dept. of Corrections, there is a requirement to getting out that few people will be able to circumvent...Yes, the slobber swabber...

YOU WILL GIVE UP A DNA EXAMPLE FOR THE OFFICIAL, GLOBALLY ACCESSIBLE FILE THAT NOW INCLUDES YOUR FELONIOUS ASS, cause iffin ya don't, you ain't goin' nowhere, MoFo... We'll keep your shit in prison for one thing or another 'til the Good Lord does come back to get you...How do ya like me now.

If the county's employees have a problem with it - and for being sanctioned for not obeying, I can agree with them 100%

Rob
Rob

It is these little things, that seem so harmless... no I don't smoke, so why shouldn't I take advantage of the savings, all I have to do is give a little saliva on a swab....then our future is Gattica. Moving toward the fitest, fastest, smartest...doesn't really make a whole society, just an Elite one.

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

Well, since most of us are not county employees who receive free health insurance paid for by the tax payers who the majority of do not receive free health insurance...who gives a shit if they stick the swabs up their asses? When do we get our free health insurance? There's plenty of money for blowing up people so don't tell me there isn't enough. The Fascist Times has us arguing about government employee benefits while the government steals our money to bring democracy to the world or kills them if they don't want it. Oh, my did I say something out of line?

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

All the insurance premiums should have been the same. However, if an insured is a non-smoker and willing to prove it with a saliva swab test, that person could be given a $480 discount on insurance. That would afford those who wish to smoke their 'right' to smoke and pay a normal premium.

Some plan administrator didn't give this a lot of thought before implementation, it appears.

guest
guest

I think that the government should be able to test all citizens for anything that they feel is necessary to test for and then levy taxes based on the results. there are people with all manner of poor lifestyles and diseases wandering around our streets and they never willingly pay their fair share.

Mikey1969
Mikey1969

Like 'ZakRulz' said, NOBODY is being forced to get these swabs, AND if they are smokers and get them, THEY CAN STILL GET THE INSURANCE. Also, the people are STILL allowed to smoke. No freedoms have been lost, they are just keeping people honest. This keeps the prices down for the non-smokers and makes the higher risk group pay fopr their higher-risk habits, that's all.

Johnny White Man
Johnny White Man

Albeit, I don't smoke myself. But its quite easy to detect a smoker:

1.) Smoker's tend to produce odor that can be smelled from their clothes, hair, hands etc.2.) Smoker's tend to look older than their actual age.3.) Its hard to distinguish a rabid racist nativist from a smoker. Because both have bad teeth.

These are some of the common characteristics of a chronic smoker.

MERRY PRANKSTER
MERRY PRANKSTER

you can smoke or eat legal medical pot and wear of gun on your side in Arizona, but what ever you do DONT SMOKE LEGAL CIGARETTES.

ZakRulz
ZakRulz

They aren't forcing people to get cheeck swabs, it's an optional incentive.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

You captured my thoughts again Tommy. :-)

J Curwen
J Curwen

I think I ought to be able to punch out any government agent who wants my bodily fluids. I don't like them invading my privacy. WTF ever happened to the 4th Amendment?

jenna
jenna

You believe that because you probably don't smoke. When they ask for your DNA, will you be so willing to give it? What if you have a cancer gene? Should you pay more?

J Curwen
J Curwen

You watch: it won't be optional for long.

jenna
jenna

And so would DNA tests. If you have a cancer gene should you pay 10 times as everyone else?

Mikey1969
Mikey1969

No, I "believe that" because that is the stated purpose. Be paranoid if you want, the black helicopters will come swooping down soon. These people are only asking because they can't trust numbnuts people like you to actually tell the truth.

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