CVS pharmacy company is requiring all employees to submit detailed health profiles to their insurance company or pay a monthly fine to continue receiving health coverage. According to ABC News, all employees must submit their weight, body fat levels, blood glucose levels and other vital statistics before May 1, 2014, or face a monthly $50 fine — $600 per year.
Employees who comply with the testing, the company said, will see no change in their monthly insurance rate. Those who do not will pay the fine or risk being dropped from their health plan.
Founder of the group Patient Privacy Rights Deborah Peel told the Boston Herald, “This is an incredibly coercive and invasive thing to ask employees to do.”
She blamed the expense of treating workers with expensive to maintain conditions like obesity and diabetes. “Rising health care costs are killing the economy, and businesses are terrified,” she said. “Now, we’re all in this terrible situation where employers are desperate to get rid of workers who have costly health conditions, like obesity and diabetes.”
Peel and other critics of the new policy are concerned that companies who institute these kinds of policies will fire and lay off workers that prove to be expensive. CVS argues that it will not have access to the information, only the company’s health insurer will have that data.
In an email to ABC News, Rhode Island-based CVS said the program “is evolving to help our colleagues take more responsibility for improving their health and managing health-associated costs” and argued that employees are being asked to supply the information voluntarily.
Insurance companies have used health screenings before as a means of determining coverage for employees. A county employee in Broward County, Florida, Brad Seff, sued in 2011 when his employers demanded a fine for non-compliance with health screenings.
He lost his case, in which he argued that by making medical inquiries of employees, the county was violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Deborah Peel has been a vocal opponent of the Obama administration’s Health Information Technology (HIT) initiative, a provision of the Affordable Care Act. In 2011, she wrote that HIT amounts to government surveillance of all health information.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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