Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
CVS seeks employee health data
BY WALTER HAMILTON, McClatchy-Tribune
Employees at one of the nation's largest drugstore chains must disclose personal health information -- including their weight -- or pay a $600-a-year fine, according to a published report.
CVS Caremark Corp. is requiring workers to reveal the information to their company's insurance carrier or pay an extra $50 a month for health coverage, according to the Boston Herald.
A CVS spokesman told the newspaper that "our benefits program is evolving to help our colleagues take more responsibility for improving their health and managing health-associated costs."
Employees must reveal their weight, height, body fat and blood pressure, the paper reported.
The company calls it a "health screening and wellness review" and will foot the bill for the associated doctor visits, according to the report.
But employees must agree to sign a form claiming the screening is voluntary, according to the paper, and allow the insurer to pass the results to the firm handling its health program.
The effort is likely to spur strong feelings from both advocates and detractors.
Critics fear such programs encroach on employees' privacy and could lead to discrimination against unhealthy or disabled workers.
Proponents, including companies that are anxious to reduce spending on medical coverage, say it holds down costs borne by all employees and encourages people to get healthier.
CVS Caremark issued a statement saying, "We want to help our employees to be as healthy as they can be, which is why we decided to implement this plan."
It said, "79 percent of large employers have health assessments incorporated into their programs. To encourage a higher level of participation in our wellness review, we ... determined that an additional cost for those who do not complete the review was the most effective way" to encourage participation.