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WTF! CVS Awfully invasive with employees health

Posted by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 7:23 AM
  • 42 Replies

CVS to workers: Tell us how much you weigh or it'll cost you $600 a year

Some say that although the Rhode Island-based pharmacy company may have the right intentions in wanting employees to stay healthy, but asking for health data such weight, body fat and glucose levels can be considered invasive. NBC's Stephanie Gosk reports.

CVS Caremark has put its employees on notice that they need to reveal their weight or pay a monthly $50 penalty. 

“Avoid the $600 annual surcharge,” CVS warns its employees who use the company’s health insurance plan. They’ve been told they are required by May 1 to show up to a doctor for an annual WebMD Wellness Review andsubmit to tests for blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass and body weight.

“Going forward, you'll be expected not just to know your numbers - but also to take action to manage them,” the CVS policy states.

“There are no penalties based on the results of a wellness screening,” a CVS spokesman told NBCNews via email. “Choosing not to have a screening will result in a $50/month increase.” 

While many employers have been pushing its workers to get healthier, it’s usually through incentives rather than penalties. “This is about as coercive and blunt as I’ve ever seen,” said Dr. Deborah C. Peel, the founder of Patient Privacy Rights, a nonprofit organization based in Austin, Texas. 

“Many employers want to do something for their workers, but very few of them are stupid enough to say give us the information and sign this form and say it’s voluntary,” Peel said. 

Smokers working for CVS are also warned: “You must either be tobacco-free by May 1, 2014, or participate in the WebMD tobacco cessation program.” Defiant smokers can avoid penalties if they are healthy enough in other categories specified by the company. 

Despite the company’s promises, Peel worries if CVS and WebMD will be able to keep the employee records completely private. Peel said people are already declining to get health treatment for issues ranging from psychiatry to sexual diseases, for fear the information will not be kept private. 

In a statement, CVS said the employee health data will be kept private and it defended its new policy. CVS, which is based in Rhode Island, also said the company would never see the test results.

“The use of health screenings by employer-sponsored health plans is a common practice. According to a National Business Group on Health survey, 79 percent of employers offered a health assessment in 2011 and 76 percent of those employers offered incentives for completion. Also, 62 percent of large employers offered biometric screenings and 52 percent of those employers offered incentives for completion),’ the CVS  statement reads in part. 

“CVS Caremark is committed to providing medical coverage and health care programs for our colleagues and our benefits program is evolving to help our colleagues engage more actively to improve their health and manage health-associated costs. An initial step to accomplish this goal is a health screening and wellness review so that colleagues know their key health metrics in order to take action to improve their overall health, if necessary.” 

WebMD did not immediately respond to a request to comment on its program. 

The CVS policy was first reported Tuesday by the Boston Herald.

by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 7:23 AM
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Replies (1-10):
lancet98
by Silver Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 7:31 AM

My guess is that CVS pays less for health insurance if those numbers are known and improved upon.

I hardly think this is CVS' idea unless they do their own health insurance.   Their  HI vendor probably offered them a discount if the employees are involved in active preventative care.

Insurance actuarial tables probably show that people who know their numbers and are encouraged to monitor them, are healthier, and thus cheaper to insure.   Either that or they die quicker from internet induced paranoia, and are THUS cheaper to insure...

Bookwormy
by Platinum Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 7:34 AM
Many do use incentives for annual physicals. This is the first disincentive of which I've heard concerning an annual physical. However, I'm not surprised.

Pretty soon insurance will simply cost more for the less well individual. It won't matter that someone like me has lost over 58lb, because I have almost 42lb to go in order to be at a healthy BMI, or that my insurance refuses to cover bariatric surgery, for which I'm the perfect candidate.
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lancet98
by Silver Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 7:58 AM

It's probably the most obvious one so far.

powow65
by Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 7:59 AM
I saw this on my local news.
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NWP
by guerrilla girl on Mar. 21, 2013 at 8:58 AM

I guess it depends on how you word it as punitive or as positive. My former employer didn't "charge more" for people being overweight, but those of us who didn't smoke, were of healthy weight and had a gym membership received a $500 "discount" on our premiums every year.

They should change how they announce it as a discount on the increase for those who qualify. They will get better publicity for that.

mommaoftwo
by Bronze Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 9:32 AM
1 mom liked this

yep


we got a "discount" for being non-smokers


Quoting NWP:

I guess it depends on how you word it as punitive or as positive. My former employer didn't "charge more" for people being overweight, but those of us who didn't smoke, were of healthy weight and had a gym membership received a $500 "discount" on our premiums every year.

They should change how they announce it as a discount on the increase for those who qualify. They will get better publicity for that.



Mommy of FIVE!!!



Tara~12.16.03  Zachary~5.17.05  Rowan~1.17.09  Willow~8/10/11  Soren~ 1/28/13

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Mar. 21, 2013 at 9:37 AM

CVS sucks.  Not just because of any thing in this article, alone that is.

I have not set foot in one in over a year and I have no plans on doing so and certainly no plans to work for them.

romalove
by Roma on Mar. 21, 2013 at 10:06 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting NWP:

I guess it depends on how you word it as punitive or as positive. My former employer didn't "charge more" for people being overweight, but those of us who didn't smoke, were of healthy weight and had a gym membership received a $500 "discount" on our premiums every year.

They should change how they announce it as a discount on the increase for those who qualify. They will get better publicity for that.

In NJ it is illegal to charge more for gasonline paid for with credit than with cash.

So what they do is give a discount for cash.

Same principle.

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Mar. 21, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Exactly...It is all in the wording.

My landlord does not charge a "late fee" for rent, but he offers a substantial "discount" if I pay my rent before the first of every month. You better believe I have never missed that deadline once!

Quoting romalove:


Quoting NWP:

I guess it depends on how you word it as punitive or as positive. My former employer didn't "charge more" for people being overweight, but those of us who didn't smoke, were of healthy weight and had a gym membership received a $500 "discount" on our premiums every year.

They should change how they announce it as a discount on the increase for those who qualify. They will get better publicity for that.

In NJ it is illegal to charge more for gasonline paid for with credit than with cash.

So what they do is give a discount for cash.

Same principle.


Neon Washable Paint

BethanyJ
by Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 10:23 AM
1 mom liked this

 Well....I'm on the fence on this one.  I don't think this is really CVS but more a corporate scheme between insurance and purchaser (CVS) to drive down costs and weed out what they consider "undesirables".  It's true that people who are obese and have high blood pressure do have more health problems...BUT, those factors are not necessarily individual predictors of a negative outcome.  Statistically speaking, they are, but statistics don't account for individuality.  I know quite a few obese people, some very obese who have no health problems to speak of though they are technically "at risk" simply based upon their size.  See, corporations look at stats and think, oh nope, no fatties here! But really...it's not that simple, and neither is staying within the so called "healthy" parmeters.  Size, blood pressure and other factors are more relative to genetics than lifestyle, just like some people have to work out constantly and count every teeny calorie to stay barely fit and others can eat up a storm and be just fine.  So, realistically speaking, it makes no sense to penalize obese employees for being so..but here, they just want them to have a health screening, which they should have anyway.  However, that opens up the door for them to further penalize them if they don't show "results" fast enough, but, for some, that's nearly impossible due to genetic make up and other factors involving time and money (not everyone has the extra cash for a gym membership, or the time to work out constantly -- there are other responsiblites, kids, or whatever).  

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