CVS Pharmacy Requires Workers' Health Info, or They'll Pay $600 Fine

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.

More: Can You Be Fired For Calling In Sick -- Even With A Doctor's Note?

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.
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Reindianapolis

This did not affect me personally but I, at the time and being a regular customer of CVS, was well acquainted with one young (mid 40's) woman and was the biggest asset this particular store had. She worked hard, all hours, finally made assistant manager. When a request was made for her to be off for some NECESSARY surgery? She was denied and told, "she would lose her position if she had the surgery"! She quit on the spot and saved them the trouble of firing her. No, she is not a relative, just a very good person who did her job and well. I no longer shop CVS. (I have heard other stories of this nature from other employees, as well as seen the ill treatment and hours they work. SHAME ON YOU CVS!!!

April 11 2014 at 6:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
criterion29

are the united states drifting into socializm or stay as capitalist ,,,,,, like i can hire a person who can do the job or i have to hire some loofers maybe i m retarded , but i have expeience in both.

March 26 2013 at 12:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
elevener1111

Check out how many employees in middle and upper management at CVS are over 55.. almost none..Over the last couple of years they have run a campaign to rid themselves of older workers...Trust me, they WILL get the information and they WILL use it to profile sick individuals...For those that are investigative reporters, don't take my word for it.... Check it... Now they are targeting the obese and those with conditions of no fault of their own....some conditions are hereditary, conditions like MS, cancer, psoriasis etc can't be blamed on the patient in most cases !!
Who manages the firewall to insure that they don't get access? What do you think they do with the Extracare data they the keep on every user? Do you not think that they don't check employees prescription records ?

March 25 2013 at 5:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
silky0342

I do not live in the USA but I think this is so very wrong. Total invasion of privacy and honestly it is NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!!! Either offer medical coverage to your employees or don't...do not penalize them monetarily because they want to keep their medical private. Whatever is or is not wrong with you is between you and your doctor, not you, your doctor, and who your company uses for medical coverage. As far as them saying "benefits program is evolving to help our colleagues take more responsibility for improving their health and managing health-associated costs", if they want to help their employees improve their health then PAY THEM MORE MONEY so they can afford to buy the nutritious food the body needs, don't have them working crazy shifts or working so many hours, that way they would have time to make a nutritious meal, they would get the rest the body needs and perhaps have a healthier lifestyle as they would actually have the time and energy to perhaps go and workout, or have the time to spend and teach their children how to live healthier which in turn lowers health costs as well as helps the future generation. So they also say that "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," well then do something for your employees...less work hours so they can rest and/or workout and more pay to buy the good foods, as we all know fresh veggies & fruit cost more money to buy and take more time to prepare a meal than pre-packaged or fast food does. Another factor about money is that a lot of people have to work more than one job to survive and put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, so if they only had to work one job that paid well and was not working them to death then maybe they would have time to look after themselves a little better...just saying

March 21 2013 at 4:16 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
alice

no i think thats unfair.its none of there business what does that have to do with working there?seems to be getting hard to deal with what is happening in USA now.

March 21 2013 at 12:47 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
bd2thebone

Pretty simple. Healthy employees benefit the company and the employees. If you think that is unfair find a job where the company doesn't care whether you are healthy or not. Don't demand the company lower their standards because you want to set low standards for yourself.

March 21 2013 at 11:44 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
dburgat

You all are going to be shocked. The people who are downing CVS - just get ready. It's going to happen a lot more than you think. And it's because of Obamacare. Companies are going to be forced to find new ways to come up with income to pay for the ridiculous law and it's outrageous cost that are being handed to business owners. This is just one of the many ways they are going to do it. And OBAMACARE - NOT the companies are the ones who are penalizing the "unhealthy" people - which in turn, is going to cost the company money. They have to make up the cost somehow or else everyone would go out of business.

March 21 2013 at 11:39 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
runswthscisors40

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.

Had they placed this info at the top of the article, i would have stopped reading.......Now, perhaps Mr. Seff sued for the wrong "reason" or public employees fall under different laws.....but it seems to set a precedent.........

March 21 2013 at 10:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Goddess

Bad precedent being set here. Where does it end? If you wear glasses, if you have allergies, skin problems, back pain, digestion problems, headaches, asthma, insomnia, anxiety, flat feet, cavities even! If it is just for *information*, some one somewhere is going to USE that information for their financial benefit, or why else would they need such invasive information? If it is just so they can know *stuff* for someone's files, then there should not be punitive consequences.

March 21 2013 at 9:51 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Wayne

I am NOT an employee of CVS, however when they implement this plan in full, we will be moving all our prescriptions elsewhere. This is what their employees AND their families should do. Then we would see
what they would do next ! ! ! The only employees that make any money there are the pharmacists anyway.
They are the Wal-Mart of the pharmacy business ! ! ! !

March 21 2013 at 9:25 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Wayne's comment
JERRY

As a previous employee of CVS, you got this right!!! They look at the employees as a liability not an asset and treat them that way. Oh yea if you are over 50 and worked for the store more than 10 years you get your hours cut and are treated like you are stupid and need notes to clean up after the lazy younger employees. If you are a cute young girl that plays with her phone all day, you get made supervisors and managers. I would certainly move my prescriptions. I shop at Walgreens now!!!!!!

March 25 2013 at 1:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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