Drugstore Chain Forces Employees to Reveal How Much They Weigh -- or They Have to Pay a Fee

stethoscope medial recordsYou may wanna start thinking about a new place to pick up your prescriptions, toilet paper, and greeting cards, because CVS's new and enraging health care policies may be enough to inspire a boycott. Many reports over the past couple of days have said that the drugstore chain is instituting a new policy as of May 1, which will require workers to disclose their weight, body fat and glucose levels, and blood pressure or else pay an extra $50 a month for their health insurance.

But CVS defends the policy as nothing more than "a health screening and wellness review" and says they won't have access to the info obtained by the check-up. Instead, it'll supposedly go straight to its health insurance provider. What's more, the company says they'll foot the bill for necessary screenings. Hmm. Still, something about this doesn't sit right with employees, privacy groups, and people who feel like CVS is suddenly acting like the health police.


Nor should it.

It's one thing to be a company that is genuinely "relentlessly committed to helping people find their personal path to better health," as CVS notes on their Facebook page. It's another to force your employees to undergo superfluous health screenings they do not necessarily want or need. Not to mention that as Think Progress points out, the policy is unfair to lower-income employees, who can't afford to pay $600 to opt-out if they feel like their privacy is being invaded or have other reasons not to undergo the review.

What else is totally ridiculous is that workers must sign a form saying the screening is voluntary -- which it, uh, really is not -- and that the insurer can give test results to WebMD Health Services Group, a firm that provides health management programs and benefit support to CVS. Grrrreat. Doesn't sound "private" to me!

This isn't about CVS caring about their workers' well-being. It's about MONEY. If it wasn't, the company would be opting for much less draconian tactics to promote health -- like offering in-store seminars from nutritionists and other wellness practitioners, or giving employees incentives to sign up for the gym or buy fresh produce from local CSAs. Not forcing people to get on the scale and then hand over their weight and BMI (which means just about nothing, researchers have admitted) to their insurance company. Not seeing how this new policy is going to make anyone a happier or healthier employee. It's just going to make for a lot more disgusted and disillusioned employees and customers.

What do you think about CVS's new policy? Would you mind if your employer had the same one?


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