ABC World News Tonight reported last evening on a new policy implemented by the CVS Pharmacy chain. Employees, numbering approximately 200,000 who have their health insurance through the company plan, are being required to submit the results of medical tests which include their weight, body fat, blood glucose levels and other vital measurements, or be fined. If testing results are not completed and turned in by May1, 2014, a $600 annual fine will be assessed, paid at the rate of $50 monthly.
Employees learned of the change in the CVS health insurance policy from a memo which spelled out the change in their health insurance plan. Rhode Island based CVS stated that the screenings were voluntary and that the company would not be privy to the test results. CVS said, in an email to ABC News, that it's "benefits program is evolving to help our colleagues take more responsibility for improving their health and managing health-related costs."
Doctor Richard Besser, ABC News chief health and medical editor said, "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."
However, according to ABC, critics of the new policy are calling it's implementation 'coercion', fearing that companies with this type of policy could begin to fire workers who are ill. Patient Rights founder Doctor Deborah Peel said, "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."
A legal precedent was set when Brad Seff, a former Broward County Florida employee, sued the County in 2011 after being charged an additional $40 monthly for his medical insurance after refused to undergo health screenings. In his lawsuit, Seff argued that the County's wellness program was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act because it made medical inquiries of it's employees. Seff lost his case. In a telephone call to ABC, Seff said, "I'm so disgusted. I moved. I left the state."