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

Say What!? 12

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?


obesity, health insurance, general health


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Jessica Perry

Hey Maressa - didya ever hear of the "Affordable" Care Act (aka OBAMACARE)??? Maybe you should check sources other than ThinkProgress for your information.

nonmember avatar MarriedMale

Exactly what I was gonna say. My employer implemented the same kind of "voluntary" program in late 2010, which was a few months after passage of Obamacare. This program is something that is a requirement of the bill. How did you think they were going to pay for this new entitlement? Did you really think that the rich would be paying for all of this? Congratulations, your now rich. How dies it feel? This recording of your health statistics is the beginning of information collecting for the rationing and cost control of health care that was never supposed to happen. Believe you me that wheb all things equal, the employee who takes these voluntary surveys has a leg up on keeping employmebt versus those who dont or who are proven to be more costly health risks. Welcome to socialized health care chumps. Told ya so.

zandh... zandhmom2

Well, everyone wanted health care for everyone so this is what happens.  Hope all of you who wanted this enjoys having the government run every part of your health and life!

nonmember avatar Tonya

The "company" I work for required the same thing of the employees who have their health insurance through our "company". If you do not use the "company" insurance, then you're exempt. You could also be excused from the screening if you took in a doctor's note stating that you had a physical in the last year, no results were required.

I understand the need. People need to be aware of a possible health crisis prior to it being too late.

lulou lulou

I think they worded it wrong.  I think they should instead reduce fees for those with lower levels.  I get cheaper life insurance becuase Im "superfit" (thats their term not mine)  I get lower car insurance because Im an awesome driver - thats my term.  And I also think my family should pay lower health insurance for breastfeeding, just like we do for not smoking . 

heart... heartmymom

I'm guessing you pay nothing for your health insurance benefits. This is what happens when everyone wants something for free. I pay 100% of my health insurance premiums and as a very healthy 29 year old single female, I'm on a level 4 of 6 of insurances provided and I am now going to be paying $340 a month for that same crappy coverage I paid $291 a month for last year. And guess what, the year before that I paid $270 a month for the same plan. I get my regular checks up and use the walk in once a year for emergencies. I am SOO excited to see my premium increase next year.  ay about how expensive health insurance is!

Jane1957 Jane1957

I don't think it is your employers business when it comes to your health. You can look healthy but on the inside you might have things going on that you have no control over! For instance I was working full time & thought I was fairly healthy except for having migraine headaches. I ended up in the hospital finding out that I had Lupus & it was attacking my brain! My doctor at the time was not very proactive when it came to trying to find out what was causing the migraines. He thought they were caused from my high stressed job & would just call in pain meds for me! After ending up in the emergency room they could not find out what was causing the head aches & called in a Rheumatologist. He ran several blood test & found out it was Lupus. My Rheumatologist told me if I had not found out about the Lupus I would have had a stroke within 2 weeks! Tried to work for a year after but due to the Lupus it had effected my memory & could not perform my job & had to go out on long term disability & social security disability at 46 yrs. of age! I was not expecting that so even though you may look health on the outside there maybe things going on in your body which you have no control over!! People are too quick to judge others!!!!! Mind your own business when it comes to someone elses health & stop judging!!!! 

mleil... mleilanim

That wouk d be a pessimist's way of looking at it. I work at a hospital who states, 'partake in our annual wellness program & get x amount of dollars off your monthly premium'. With that said, I get the discount; however, that doesn't mean the next guy is paying x amount of dollars more for not doing it. People always have something to bizz about.

Angie... AngieHayes

I don't know about Obama Care act or anything, but I don't disagree with the rules. It is not at all crazy for a company to want to employ healthy employees. Healthier employees, less sick days, less health cost.

CadesMum CadesMum

First of all, in 2009 I started working for a very prominent hotel chain. We were "required" to do this same thing, otherwise our premiums would go up. This is nothing new. A company that a relative of mine works for has been doing this for over a decade.

Second of all, the Affordable Healthcare Act will allow companies to cover less of their employee's premiums if they are overweight, smoke, etc.

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