CVS Pharmacy Wants to Know Employees’ Weight and Body Fat Or They Will Be Charged a Fine
CVS Pharmacy is requiring all employees to submit their weight, body fat, cholesterol and other vitals if they use the company’s health plan. If they refuse to submit the information, they will be charged an additional $50 per month for their insurance. On one hand, with rising health insurance costs, I can understand why they want this, but on the other hand, it’s very scary and brings up many privacy issues. Employees that agree to have a health screening will see no change in their insurance costs, but refusing the screenings will cost them. By the way, paying $50 a month more for insurance works to $600 per year.
The employees are being asked to provide this information by May 1, 2014 or risk paying more for the company health plan if they refuse. Needless to say, privacy advocates are up in arms over this policy and believe information like weight and body fat is personal information that does not have to be shared. What are they going to do with that information?
Once this information is obtained, you know it is going into a giant database, which means that information could get into the wrong hands and that is what everyone is reeling about and some fear this will lead to the company firing sick workers.
Patient Privacy Rights founder Dr. Deborah Peel said, “The approach they’re taking is based on the assumption that somehow these people need a whip, they need to be penalized in order to make themselves healthy.” Peel added that “It’s technology-enhanced discrimination on steroids.”
The information will be obtained through health screenings that CVS says are voluntary, but if you don’t want to pay an additional $600 a year for insurance, you really have no choice. CVS also says the company will never see the results and their goal is to help employees take more responsibility for improving their health and managing health costs.
One of the big questions I have is what happens to an employee whose health screening revealed they were at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke? They could be fired, according to some advocates and that is scary.
Just because someone’s cholesterol is high, does not automatically mean their health is in danger…a lot of that has more to do with genetics than anything else. I personally would pay the $50 a month and tell them to shove their health screening. I don’t want my personal information in some database that could cost me my present job, or keep me from getting a new job. It just feels very wrong. This will be a raging debate for sure.