In an effort to avoid high-cost insurance plans, companies have begun to financially penalize employees for not participating in wellness programs and have even made workers take medical check-ups before putting them on their health insurance programs.

“I have hated these programs,” Medical ethicist from NYU Arthur Caplan said on Boston Public Radio Tuesday.

“This effort to let your boss manage your health, I understand why companies want to do it. They’re often the source of health insurance and they want to cut their costs by getting chronic illness and high-risk behavior under control, but it’s none of your boss's business. The only thing the boss should care about, I think, is whether you can do the job. Not whether you smoking cigarettes in the basement at home,” Caplan said.

Caplan believes companies that supply time and equipment for their employees to exercise throughout the day, are providing a valuable service to their workers. Companies that require medical screenings are another story.

“Saying, you know, I want to see your blood sugar levels and I want to know your cholesterol and you will submit to health care testing because you work here, I don’t think so,” Caplan said.

Instead of cherry picking medical maladies, companies could work toward creating a less stressful work environment, says Caplan. Although these types of changes could be beneficial to the employees, the could slow productivity. 

“They aren’t there to look out for you, they are there to look out for them,” Caplan said.

Art Caplan is a medical ethicist at the NYU Langone Medical Center. Listen to his interview with Boston Public Radio Above.