OR state employee health surcharge disputed

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- An advisory committee recommends that Oregon stop penalizing state workers who refuse to participate in a new wellness program.

State employees who don't enroll in the Health Engagement Model must pay a surcharge of at least $25 a month. The surcharge was intended to encourage participation in the program to promote healthy behavior and reduce insurance costs.

A joint labor-management committee said Tuesday the surcharge should be dropped this year to give the state time to reconsider the punitive approach.

The Statesman Journal reports (http://is.gd/9UOSqb) the recommendation goes to the Public Employees' Benefit Board, which meets Tuesday.

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