CVS to fine workers who don't "volunteer" health information.
By Steve Osunsami | ABC News Blogs
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.
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.
Hospitals and other businesses are beginning to not hire smokers for health and insurance reasons.
CVS is trying control their expenses. This isn't happening until 2014, plenty of time for the fatties to slim down. If they don't care enough to care for themselves, they should pay a penalty. The new "F" word is Fat. "If You're Fat, Pay Fifty."
Does anybody here work for them?
I would love to know exactly what "and other vitals" refers to. Do you have to piss in a cup? Get your prostate checked? Be checked for STDs?
Now, if the government required this information from everyone, all we'd be hearing is the full-throat screech of the Tea Partiers. But as long as it's a corporation, it's ago. Puzzling.
R3 - I don't cast this around lightly but you are a fucking fool.
And Hollywood should ban actors from smoking, doing drugs, and getting risky cosmetic surgery, lest they pay a punitive fine in the amount of 70% of their net worth toward SFX that make them look great. Ha! Yes.
Same with current pop music artists. Their voices will go from awful to even worse with smoking.
Hollywood and television should ban smoking from all scenes.
(R4) - I suspect you cast it around very lightly.
Surely this is illegal. Wouldn't that information be protected?
Here's another article with more details. Employees also have to be tobacco free or participate in a company smoking cessation program. All employees also have to get their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesteral, BMI and weight.
I think I would have a problem with this. I don't want my employer knowing these things - they are all in the normal range, but once you give them permission to take your blood, who knows what else they will test for without your permission. It's too invasive.
CVS is taking over the country, at least in the Northeast, so this could be a very big deal in setting a precedent. I don't like it.
My first instinct would be to pay the fine... but I suspect people who don't comply will be laid off before long.
It definitely sounds really creepy. But our country's poor health habits are going to bankrupt Medicare. They consume 20% of our economy. Education is clearly not enough. As a society, how else are we going to be a healthier population unless institutions with some leverage begin to insist on it?
Poor health habits don't only harm the individual. They harm society because almost no one pays the costs of healthcare out of their own pocket. We all pay one way or another.
Not clear to me what this story is about. Anyone who regularly gets a physical would have all these tests performed anyway. All this seems to require is to have those tests performed.
This seems like a story about nothing.
Agree with r9
r12, I get a physical every year by my own doctor. He does not report the results to my employer. That's the big difference here.
Maybe it's not a fine, but a reward to those who DO comply. Like the people who get a break on their health insurance for participating in weight loss and exercise programs.
What about a reward to those who refrain from anal sex?
Oddly I don't have a problem with this. Our health care costs are ridiculous and we are basically a unhealthy, obese nation.
The company I work for has been doing this for years. I have been a corporate employee for Starbucks for many years and have to do a "health quotient" every year for my health insurance or pay extra. I just lie half the time on the thing anyway, since many of the questions are none of their business.
#14 you need to learn to read. CVS states they don't see the results.
I think that people who don't know their weight and blood pressure should be punished. I don't want to pay for their stupidity.
[quote]I just lie half the time on the thing anyway, since many of the questions are none of their business.
Yeah, that's a good idea. Lie, so when when you need medical care someday and they find out you lied about a risk factor, they can refuse coverage. Brilliant.
He's lying to his employer, not the insurance company.
R18 -- You have set yourself up for being denied coverage should one of the questions you lied about pertain to what you now need treatment for.
The dumbest third-string insurance lawyer could easily win against you in court by presenting as Exhinit "A" your health quotient form with your signed and attested to lies.
Could you BE any denser?
The health insurance company can't deny him coverage because he lied to his employer who had no right to ask.
Good and test them for HIV, smoking and other preventable things. I don't see why my rates should go up because you 'mos volunteer to get 100% preventable things.
[quote](CVS) Employees also have to be tobacco free
Odd, considering CVS sells cigarettes.
We're headed to a world like the one represented in Gattaca [the movie]
r19 is correct. CVS will not get specific results. Will only know if an employee had a normal or failing number in a category. Not that a manager doesn't know which worker has a waist size that bulges out screaming "I'm pre-diabetic" or worse.
r25, if CVS customers smoke, doesn't mean employees should follow them like lemmings.
R28 I didnt say they should. I just remarked that is seems odd CVS is opposed to its employees using a product they sell in their store. If CVS was really opposed to smoking, they wouldn't sell cigarettes at all.
#19, I don't think that's true (at least if you believe CVS). They state they won't have any access. WebMD, their "wellness" provider will have access. Presumably they need access to steer the overweight employees to programs.
[quote] Anyone who regularly gets a physical would have all these tests performed anyway
And the results would be private.
"Other vitals" mean blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol level, etc.
Many of these things are hereditary and/or age related. My partner went on a severe diet to bring his cholesterol down because he didn't want to take anti cholesterol medication. He is 6'1" and weighs 167. Didn't work. it's genetic. Everyone in his family is thin and they all have heart disease after age 60. So he's back on the anti cholesterol medication.
My blood pressure is high. It was low all of my life -- I would constantly be asked at the dr's office if my blood pressure was always so low. Within one year it spiked up, along with my cholesterol level. My mother had the same problem -- low BP, suddenly high. It's genetic.
What about diabetics? A coworker developed type 1 diabetes at age 29. She was thin, gorgeous, active, very health conscious. No matter how well she followed her diet, she had trouble controlling her blood sugar and could look forward to possible kidney problems, heart disease, blindness, stroke.
All of these things are not "healthy." High cholesterol. High blood pressure. Diabetes. So CVS, in addition to keeping smokers from working there, could also find that someone who old not keep their blood sugar or their cholesterol or their blood sugar low enough is not living the healthiest life they ought to be leading and thus let them go. it's a great wy to weed out the non-perfect and the aging worker.
It's employer eugenics.
[quote] CVS will not get specific results.
Maybe not now, but they will.
They will wait a few years and then you will need a note from your doctor stating that you had a physical and your test results and vital signs were all within normal limits. Anything not within normal limits should be noted by the dr.
Then, after a few years, they will ask the dr to fill in the blanks -- employee height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, glucose level, cholesterol level, LDL, hdl, urinalysis, EKG after age 40.
It's just the beginning, my dears.
I'm not sure that it's so much about your health as much as it's about taking care of yourself. I think this should be the beginning. People will have more incentive to be healthy and keep costs down.
"Oddly I don't have a problem with this. Our health care costs are ridiculous and we are basically a unhealthy, obese nation. "
It's a slippery slope you don't want ANYONE to start on. You may be okay with employers discriminating against fatties, or smokers, but what about when they start discriminating against something you do? Such as, well, sexual activities that might put you at risk for HIV or other sexually transmitted disease. Those are expensive as hell, imagine if employers began refusing to hire the sexually active, on the grounds that it'd drive up their health care costs? Or "high risk groups", such as racial minorities prone to hypertension or diabetes? Or people over forty, who are going to cost them more regardless?
NOW do you get it? If this is declared legal, corporations have a way to discriminate against anyone.
Unionize kids, unionize.
Definitely the beginning of a very slippery slope. Best not to take the first steps on that slope at all.
Congress should protect people from this type of coercion and penalization.
well said r34, well said!!
I've always had a problem with drug testing but companies have gotten away with that for DECADES. I can see drug testing if you have a job where you drive a vehicle or if you have access to lots of $$$.
I believe that the Cleveland Clinic dictates that employees can's smoke and also regulates the foods they serve in their cafeteria, but I can rationalize that as they are a hospital.
But CVS is really prying too much into personal information. This should be illegal.
Rather than fire people with unhealthy vitals, it is more likely that eventually insurance premiums will be adjusted to reflect individual risks.
The rate of premium increases is so high that every company is looking for some way to lessen the financial pain.
This is a good argument for the single-payer system. That way, employers can get out from having to be paying for the costs of health care. Meanwhile, that would also mean increasing substantially employee wages -- such as taking the minimum wage and establishing the new minimum as $20 per hour.
Well, where I live I can choose from 5 different pharmacies (Target, Walgreens, Costco, Osco & a local pharmacy).
So, I'll be taking my business to a pharmacy that doesn't treat their employees like crap.
This will go before the Supreme Court eventually, and it will be overturned.
The problem with a lot of those stats, specifically the BMI, is they are inaccurate barometers.
The others, like blood pressure, have a major genetic component in many people that doesn't reflect their overall lifestyle profile.
I'm surprised a CLU somewhere isn't challenging this.
I work for cvs....the way they are spinning it is as a incentive to get health screening you will save $600 dollars a year they sa we are getting a discount on insurance cost. Also you can't just fill in the numbers yourself you have to have info faxed by dr or the results won't count toward incentive. I'm not sure I will be doing it. We are losing our choice in insurance coverage in 2014 anyway .
No it won't #42. They state specifically that CVS doesn't get the info so the employee isn't harmed. They are only harmed if they don't go and take the test. Totally legal. If they employee doesn't like it they can work somewhere else.
#41, do you really believe that Target, Walgreens etc really treat their employees better? You are crazy. Maybe Costco does but that's about it.
This topics is made for DL!!! Welcome to Nazi-land!
r39, where did you get idea anyone was being fired? No one is being let go. You have the option not to provide CVS with health information knowing that you'll pay $50 a month for insurance. $50 may be worth it for some people to hide information.
If a judge can declare that Bloomberg's soft drink bill in unconstitutional, then this is certainly unconstitutional, too.
[quote] If a judge can declare that Bloomberg's soft drink bill in unconstitutional, then this is certainly unconstitutional, too.
Bloomberg's soft drink bill was declared unconstitutional because it was an action of the government.
This is, for now, limited to the private sector.
They need to hit the fatties and smokers hard. They are expensive to support. Especially the fatties. I don't understand smokers or fat people. Get ahold of your addictions. I hear nicotine is one of the hardest addictions to get over. I'm sorry about that but you got to do what you got to do. And fatties need to put the fucking fork away.
Ok R51, after you stop sucking cock.
r51 doesn't have any critical thinking skills
[quote] would love to know exactly what "and other vitals" refers to.
We will eventually eliminate all of the PTMs from our company as well.
My company raised everyones health insurance by $600.00 a year. Then gave you the option to do the health screening to get a credit of #600.00 a year if you passed their standards or took their health classes.
It is the same thing really. CVS just did it wrong.
Seriously... This would have caused people to get out on the streets and protest in the 1970s.
The deregulation of media by Reagan has led to fascist "news" casts and bullies on the radio who endlessly spew corporate bullshit.
If you admit to barebacking, do you get a larger employee discount on CVS brand condoms?
Are they going to make the pharmacists do this, too?
R56. You want state controlled media? Fuck off to china
I LOVE THIS! Shit, I almost wish I worked for them. Well, not really, but sorta' since I'm a health freak.
Oh this is nothing. Dell of all companies started this shit almost two years ago.
To qualify for the discount you had a health coach that would call you.
Now the trick to it is this: lie your ass off. Say you lost 200 pounds in six weeks. All the coaches do is act as cheerleader.
Soon moochelle will be calling you at home with obamacare.
Employers don't have any right to set any physical standard that does not affect your ability to do your job. A cop or fireman shouldn't be obese, but a cashier can be a cashier even if they are fat slobs. Basic hygiene and refraining from spreading a highly contagious infectious disease should be the only health standards for most jobs.
If employers don't want to provide health care, then let them fucking lobby for single payer health care so they will no longer have the responsibility. Otherwise, they can stfu about other people's health standards.
[quote]If employers don't want to provide health care, then let them fucking lobby for single payer health care so they will no longer have the responsibility. Otherwise, they can stfu about other people's health standards.
My company will put $250 in your HSA if you get a physical (which is no cost), and more money on top of that if your blood pressure is controlled and your BMI is good. Seems like a better way to go to offer positive incentives.
R41 Me too. I've never been a fan of CVS anyway - their prices always seem to be higher than at other pharmacies.
I think it's weird that U.S. employers have so much access to personal and health information, and control over how much coverage people have based on what insurance they offer.
What the U.S. should have instead is healthcare for everyone, but not paid directly from employers. Single-payer makes more sense to me, and then vastly increase minimum wage so people can reasonably pay for it. Takes corporation out of the loop, and allows privacy. But doctors, then, should have some authority to insist that you improve your health, whether you must exercise to get your numbers down, change eating styles, whatever. So that over the longterm, we don't cost more than we contribute to society (making some leeway for genetic predispositions).
I'm genetically predisposed to being fat, but if I was penalized for poor lifestyle choices (by my doctor, not an employer who could fire me and is financially motivated to hire perfectly young, perfectly healthy people), it would add incentive to make changes.
Ex. Obesity. A doctor gives you a list to choose from to increase your health. You choose a certain number of them, and are provided needed support. If you don't follow-through, you are penalized and things are imposed upon you, doctor's choice (like, she gets to mandate you into an exercise program).
I know it's all a bit much, but it's also true that something has to be done about the healthcare crisis that we cannot really afford. And whatever that is will be uncomfortable.
One good plague would probably create some solutions (could it just spread through Republican and religious regions, though?), but really, we must take personal responsibility for health, while getting the support we need to make positive changes. Most don't have either of those things now.
CVS knows they can't win this in court. It's just a signal to managers to get rid of the fatties.
[quote] I've never been a fan of CVS anyway - their prices always seem to be higher than at other pharmacies.
Cetirizine is the generic name of Zyrtec. I just checked CVS's website. CVS brand of Cetirizine is on sale for $14.39 cents for 30 tablets. The Mondale price is $17.99.
I buy kirkland brand Cetirizine at Costco for $17.99. That is for 365 pills. So what you pay for a year's worth of Cetirizine in Coatco will normally get you a month's worth at CVS.
They'll want to know those who engage in risky sexual activity next. The US still doesn't allow gays to donate blood over it. People like r1 would go ballistic over such a measure set forth by CVS.
[quote][R56]. You want state controlled media? Fuck off to china
China has the FCC?
This is like ethnic cleansing!
If it's so they can control health care costs then what about the family members of the employee? Must the spouses and children of the employee submit to the tests as well?
So say I,m a non-smoker, non-drinker, healthy weight, and vegan, can I object to the health care costs of that jerky guy I work with who gets drunk every weekend and goes snow boarding? And breaks his arm? In three places.
Just for the record I'm not a vegan but the other things apply. When this guy went out and broke his arm snowboarding everyone was sooooooo concerned and supportive. They even donated sick hours to him. I refused and pointed out how the smokers were demonized and charged extra but it was just dandy for this guy to take expensive risks.
What about my co-worker whose kid is in a competitive contact sport like hockey or football. Should we be supporting them and paying extra for their health care? How about the two women in my company who played field hockey in college and blew out their knees and now have to have surgery while on the company's health plan?
I mean we could nit pick forever about life choices and risky decisions. No one should have to justify their health issues and behaviors and/or be penalized. Health plans are about shared risk.
Some of you would rather bash fatties than protect your own rights.
Many corporations already do the same thing, only by way of "incentivization" rather than penalization schemes. They promise staff reductions of $20 or $50 per month for submitting to various health screening tests or gym memberships or smoking cessation programs. It's all done in the name of Preventive Health for the employee, but the real purpose is to weed out the weak and the fat and the smokers and those with chronic illness.
When access to healthcare is attached firmly to employment, and one employer is able to leverage lower insurance rates by culling the herd, what do you expect? Employer-based insurance is nuts.
OK if they employees have to be healthier, does the corporation have to be healthier too?
What responsibility does CVS carry for selling tons and tons and tons of unhealthy stuff?
Should the government tax them harder for selling cigarettes, gross snack foods and unhealthy over-sweet sodas?
This is such utter bullshit. And it's so depressing reading you bloody serfs cheering a further screwing from your corporate overlords.
I worked for a company before and after a similar policy like this took was enacted. The smokers did not have it nearly as hard the people who were overweight. A lot of them managed to quit eventually. Or they gave themselves enough time to quit before their physicals and picked it back up again after.
Really, most of them had jobs where they sat all day long for hours and hours on end. We only got 30 minute lunches and most of the time ended up eating at our desks. Some of them worked insane hours and now they all had to lose weight or else have their insurance premiums sky rocket.
My sister-in-law works for CVS in their RI corporate office. She said that they have essentially told their employees that if they're not willing to submit to these standards and pay the extra fee, they've encouraged them to go buy insurance on the State Exchanges (available next year) and CVS will gladly pay the $2,000 gov't fine.
R75 Do you work for United Healthcare? That is what they do.
You wanted Obamacare, now you get to deal with it.
R80 blames all rape victims for being raped; the Jews for the holocaust, Katrina victims for not being prepared....and on and on
The problem they're missing is the high amount of their pharmies subsisting on opiates. Pay attention to the pupils on your pharmacists. Too many of them have those pinny irregular heroin pupils.
#75 explain how offering incentives "culls the heard". Employees are given the option to participate. Can you give an actual example where an employer terminated the employee for not participating?
Frankly, I think you're full of crap.
[quote] Do you work for United Healthcare? That is what they do.
R79: No, not me. I think many major insurers offer some variation/s on this "incentive" scheme (the candy-coating ripped away in the CVS example as a blatant penalty scheme.) They offer various plans to employers and may negotiate some of the details and pricing.
The more an employer is willing to take on the dirty work of weeding out the medically undersirable/risky, the happier the insurers are.
r73, I don't get people like you. You are lucky that your employer provides health insurance. If you had to purchase it on your own, it would cost you a lot more money. Stop being such a busybody concerned with everyone else's business.
[quote] You are lucky that your employer provides health insurance. If you had to purchase it on your own, it would cost you a lot more money.
Nonsense. Employers don't dole out health insurance as an act of charity. Luck (except perhaps in the act of being employed) has nothing to do with it.
Employers offer health insurance either because they are required to do by law,, and/or to keep abreast of competitive market of fellow employers. The cost is built in to the cost of doing business; most employees will be reminded at least a couple of times a year that their Total Compensation Package is equal to their annual salary plus the cost of health insurance borne by the insurer plus the the cost of any bonuses and perks.
No doubt employers would rather not be bothered offering health insurance, nor do they employ the staff to administer and cheer-lead for these benefits out of kindness. And who can blame them? Insurance is a nightmare for anyone at any end of the scheme -- except for the health insurance companies whose profits ramp up each year with or without Obamacare or any other health care reform legislation. Somehow for all their bitching, health insurance companies come out ahead every time.
It will not be overturned R42. It's been going on for years at many companies and has already gone to court. It's blocked in Hawaii by state legislation.
Yes R73, there are substantial number of these companies that set the same rules for all covered adults, meaning the spouses/domestic partners of employees. Haven't heard anything about children but that means little.
Most of the self-righteous here don't understand even the basic concept of insurance. A good share don't understand when and where most health care dollars are spent and certainly don't comprehend demographics.
Lots of carbon copies of Travolta preening himself in the mirror. Not as good looking but just as dumb.
It's laughably naive to believe the gathered data is kept private. The data is worth money, it's a revenue source.
Many of the companies who do this self-insure. 60% of employees with health insurance are getting it through self-insured plans - their employer already owns all their heathcare data.