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CVS Pharmacy Wants Workers’ Health Information, or They’ll Pay a Fine/here it starts...

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Mar 20, 2013 7:43am
gty cvs dm 130320 wblog CVS Pharmacy Wants Workers Health Information, or Theyll Pay a Fine

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A new policy by CVS Pharmacy requires every one of its nearly 200,000 employees who use its health plan to submit their weight, body fat, glucose levels and other vitals or pay a monthly fine.

Employees who agree to this testing will see no change in their health insurance rates, but those who refuse will have to pay an extra $50 per month — or $600 per year — for the company’s health insurance program. All employees have until May 1, 2014, to make an appointment with a doctor and record their vitals.

“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,” Patient Privacy Rights founder Dr. Deborah Peel said.

Critics are calling the policy coercion, and worrying that CVS or any other company might start firing sick workers.

“It’s technology-enhanced discrimination on steroids,” Peel said.

The policy change was introduced to employees in a memo highlighting the change in the health insurance plan.

CVS, which is based in Rhode Island, said the health screening was voluntary and the company would never see the test results. In an email to ABC News, CVS explained that its “benefits program is evolving to help our colleagues take more responsibility for improving their health and managing health-associated costs.

“The goal of these kinds of programs is to end up with a healthier work force. If your employees are healthy they’re going to work better and they’re going to cost the employer a lot less money,” ABC News’ chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser said.

CVS insists that the use of health screenings by employer-sponsored health plans is a common practice. A quick search of the Internet shows many websites and message boards filled with questions from families asking if similar programs and policies are legal.

Brad Seff, a former Broward County, Fla.,  employee, learned the hard way that it is legal, according to one court. Seff sued the county in April 2011 after it charged him an extra $40 per month for health insurance after he refused health screenings.

In the suit, Seff said the wellness program violated the Americans With Disabilities Act because the county was making medical inquires of its employees. Seff lost his suit.

“I’m so disgusted. I moved. I left the state,” Seff told ABC News by phone.

by on Mar. 20, 2013 at 9:37 AM
Replies (11-20):
by Ruby Member on Mar. 20, 2013 at 10:15 AM
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I don't like it. It wouldn't take long for companies to demand those health screenings before the hiring prices is over so they can refuse to hire qualified workers with hidden health problems like high bp or a family history of heart disease because the health screen will likely include a personal history. This is an excuse to get further and further into our privacy and I have always distrusted people who do bad things and say it is for my own good.

I don't believe for a second that CVS or any business wouldn't try to look at all of that info just sitting there. Might as well trust the wolf to guard from foxes
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by Ruby Member on Mar. 20, 2013 at 10:35 AM

There have always been companies that have required a physical of some sort before hiring a person, just as there have been those that don't.  The first job I had, they required a physical before being hired and that was back about 1966 - 1967

by Bronze Member on Mar. 20, 2013 at 10:47 AM
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I work in Human Resources at my company and this year we had a required blood draw/Health Risk Assessment to stay on the medical plan. It's a broad-based panel and the results give you a clear, in-depth picture of your health. Even people who were skeptical at first have stated that the information is very useful and it has opened many eyes to the state of their own health.

In HR, we do NOT see results of the tests...we are only able to see "yes they have had their blood draw" or "no they have not had their blood draw". We don't get the results, so no employment decisions are made based on employee health. The only negative consequence is being removed from the medical plan if you refuse to have blood drawn. Simple.
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by Platinum Member on Mar. 20, 2013 at 10:48 AM
I agree.

Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

It isn't any different than getting insurance that isn't provided by an employer. Our whole family had to have physicals and blood work when we purchased our own health insurance.

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by Silver Member on Mar. 20, 2013 at 11:33 AM
1 mom liked this

Well, as much as it pains me to say this, if businesses have no choice but to provide insurance, they should also have the right to fine those that refuse to help keep costs low. 

by on Mar. 20, 2013 at 11:37 AM

 I'm pretty sure my dad has to get a yearly physical for his insurance.

My DH gets a physical for an insurance deduction and so does my mom.

by Bronze Member on Mar. 20, 2013 at 11:40 AM
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Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

Quoting DSamuels:

Where I work you get a discount, it was $250 a year, on your premium if you complete a questionnaire and get a screening. They brought nurses in to take the blood, etc. I don't use their insurance since I'm part time and we have it through hubby's employment.

we get a $1200 discount for providing the questionaire and getting regular physicals and allowing the insurer access to pur medical findings. We haven't been asked to provide blood or UA for at least a year.

Very similar to us!

This isn't a new thing.  Many companies have been doing this quietly for some time now.  I remember my prior company starting this over 5 years ago. 

by "Dude!" on Mar. 20, 2013 at 12:04 PM
The information isn't going to the employer, it is for statistical use by the insurer who already has access to your medical records.
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by "Dude!" on Mar. 20, 2013 at 12:08 PM
That is likely what is going on in this situation. No one is getting a fine, but some likely wont get a discount.

Quoting furbabymum:

 I'm pretty sure my dad has to get a yearly physical for his insurance.

My DH gets a physical for an insurance deduction and so does my mom.

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by Thatwoman on Mar. 20, 2013 at 12:13 PM

You don't think having crappy health is a sufficient penalty?

Or, maybe the other way 'round: you don't think having good health is a sufficient reward?

Quoting lga1965:

 People in poor health who have bad habits use their health care more often and that results in higher health care insurance premiums for everyone. So, it makes sense that the unhealthy ones pay a penalty if they don't care to improve their health. And who would deliberately continue to harm their own health by ignoring the widom and knowledge of health professionals? Its not smart and self destructive. In this article, CVS says it is going to keep the information confidential.

If it helps people why not gather the information? I wouldn't mind.

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