Ore. state workers sue over wellness program

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Five Oregon state workers have asked a federal court to block a new health insurance program that requires them to fill out an online risk assessment survey or pay a monthly penalty: $20 for individuals, $35 for couples.

The Salem Statesman Journal reported Thursday (http://stjr.nl/wY0uTG ) the class-action lawsuit says the wellness program coerces workers into providing personal medical information, violating their civil rights and privacy.

The program requires participants to take a confidential health survey and provide their waist measurement, as well as to take two online lessons on health topics of their choice. The aim is to reduce health care costs by encouraging healthy behavior.

About 85 percent of state workers have signed up.

Meanwhile, the paper reports, the board that governs state benefits is considering suspending the program.

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Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com