Drug store giant CVS Pharmacy made headlines this week when it announced that every one of its employees who use its health care program will be required to submit their height, weight, glucose levels and body fat to the company.
The company, which has 200,000 employees, says that those who comply with the new policy will not see a change in their health care premiums. Those who refuse will have to pay an extra $50 per month to participate in the company’s health plan.
Critics of the plan raise several concerns, all of which point to discrimination against workers who have existing health conditions, as well as those who are part of high risk groups. Patient Privacy Rights founder Dr. Deborah Peel explained to ABC News that the policy amounts to “technology-enhanced discrimination on steroids.”
CVS defends its actions by explaining that the health disclosures were merely voluntary and just a way for employees to avoid premium increases and take responsibility for their health at the same time. By doing so, it would be a helpful partnership in reducing overall health care costs.
Despite the potential cost savings, questions still remain as to whether CVS plan is legal. After all, how the information is used is the key element in this plan. Should the information be used to raise health care premiums for certain groups, it could be actionable.
In the meantime, CVS believes that it is no different from other corporate entities that use health screenings to justify premium costs.
Source: ABC News.com, CVS Pharmacy wants workers’ health information, or they’ll pay a fine, March 20, 2013