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.
CVS could not immediately be reached for comment. But a 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.
[Updated, 12:44 p.m. PDT March 20: CVS Caremark issued this statement Tuesday afternoon: “We want to help our employees to be as healthy as they can be, which is why we decided to implement this plan. In fact, we have been working for a number of years on ways they can improve their health through preventive measures. Healthcare programs that incent employees to be healthier are not new. Many companies around the country already have plans similar to the one we are implementing. In fact, 79% of large employers have health assessments incorporated into their programs. To encourage a higher level of participation in our wellness review, we reviewed best practices and determined that an additional cost for those who do not complete the review was the most effective way to incent our colleagues to improve their health care and manage health costs.
“CVS Caremark is committed to providing medical coverage and healthcare programs for our colleagues and privacy is rigorously protected, consistent with HIPAA regulations. All personal health data from these screenings are collected and reviewed by a third-party administrator that supports the CVS Caremark Wellness Program, and this data is not shared with CVS Caremark -- rather it is designed to help employees make the best decisions about their own healthcare.”]