You may want to skip dessert tonight if you work for the CVS/Pharmacy chain of drug stores, as the company has told its employees that they need to see a Doctor by May 1, 2013, and reveal their weight and submit to other tests. The Boston Herald reported on this story on March 19, 2013.
Although the plan includes both sexes, as any man with the slightest bit of common sense would tell you, asking a woman her weight is like going into her pocketbook, it is sacred and the consequences could cost you a week on the couch. There are certain things a smart man just does not do and this certainly falls into “the proceed at your own risk category.”
Rhode Island-based CVS Caremark, which has 200,000 employees, told all workers who use the company insurance plan to have a doctor determine their weight, height, body fat, blood pressure and glucose and fasting lipid levels by the May deadline or face $50 a month more for medical coverage. The company calls the program a voluntary one, but at the cost of $600.00 a year for those who opt out, that does not exactly define the spirit of the word “voluntary”, especially when you consider the pay rate is typically at or slightly above minimum wage.
“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,” Peel added. “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.”
Although CVS will be a good sport and foot the bill for the checkup, the company puts its own spin on it by calling it a health screening and wellness review so employees can monitor their health and progress depending on the results. However, workers must sign a form that the screening is a voluntary one.
CVS try’s to defend the policy; Spokesman Michael D’Angelis stated that “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.
I guess the company’s concern is one sided though, is it’s thoughtfulness in helping employees to stay healthy too benefit the employee or is it a way to weed out potential unhealthy ones.
Think about it, on one side of the store they fill prescriptions and sell products to keep you healthy. The other side of the store it is full of unhealthy snacks, shelves full of Russell Stover and Whitman chocolates. A cooler full of energy drinks and behind the register, you can buy your carton of cigarettes.
I guess that’s how you make sure your customers will be back to fill that prescription, call it job security.