CVS Asking Employees for Weight, Fat, and Glucose Levels

How far is too far when it comes to companies meddling in their employee's health?

Photo via Flickr/Chia-Ling

Photo via Flickr/Chia-Ling

A new CVS policy requires employees that are covered by company health insurance to report their weight, body fat, and glucose levels or they must pay a $600 penalty. The Herald reported that the employees of Rhode Island-based CVS Caremark have until May 1st to report the information or risk being fined. CVS will pay for the doctors visit to get the correct information.

According to a report in the Herald, the company has dubbed the request “a health screening and wellness review so that colleagues know their key health metrics in order to take action to improve their numbers, if necessary.” If workers don’t sign up, their medical coverage will jump by $50 a month.

CVS spokesman Michael D’Angelis defended the policy in an email to the Herald:

“Our benefits program is evolving to help our colleagues take more responsibility for improving their health and managing health-associated costs. All personal health data is kept private by our wellness program’s third party administrator and is never shared with CVS Caremark,” D’Angelis said.

Patient Privacy Rights founder Dr. Deborah Peel is not in favor of this policy and told the Herald:

“This is an incredibly coercive and invasive thing to ask employees to do,” said Patient Privacy Rights founder Dr. Deborah Peel, adding that mounting health care costs have made these policies increasingly common. “Rising health care costs are killing the economy, and businesses are terrified. 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.”

Health insurance costs are rising for employers, and hopefully this is just an attempt to make their employees aware of their health, while walking the fine line of violating privacy rights. We know plenty of people that would love a job that offers health insurance, and would gladly submit to testing if they knew it could one day save their life—and prevent a fine. That said, we are curious what CVS will do with the information once they have it. Is this an attempt to inform and educate employees or an attempt to weed out the employees with the most severe health problems?