Questions about personal health history usually cover chronic illnesses, family history of disease, allergies, and any major illnesses or surgeries, according to MedlinePlus. Businesses are also willing to inquire about physical activity, alcohol consumption, stress levels and other details, reports Time Inc.'s Money magazine.
For insurance purposes, businesses perform health risk assessments to identify behaviors that may cost them in the future, notes Money. Because of this, employee questionnaires may inquire about social groups, relationship status, outlook, work-life balance and other factors that may affect depression and mental health. Cancer screenings, health and vision impairment, and vaccinations may be included as well. However, questionnaires cannot ask about the health of family members, especially parents, preventing companies from collecting genetic data on their employees.
While employees are generally not required to fill out these health risk assessments if they wish to abstain from a company-sponsored health program or plan, employers are also not allowed to use them for anything other than wellness programs, explains Money. While a company may have access to an employee's health claims and be able to gauge his fitness and health through those, the employers are required maintain a firewall between themselves and the information with limited staff access.