CVS preparing to penalize workers who won’t disclose their health information

posted at 2:31 pm on March 21, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

One of the myriad joys of universal health care: Many of the things that were once your own personal business, are suddenly very much society’s business.

One of the country’s largest pharmacy chains is asking its workers to find out how fat they are and then disclose it to their insurance provider.

Not only is that company, CVS Caremark, telling workers who use its health insurance plan to have a doctor determine their height, weight, body fat, blood pressure and other health indicators. It is also asking workers to give permission to the insurer to turn over that information to a firm that provides benefits support to CVS, the Boston Herald reports.

Workers who don’t take part in the voluntary “wellness review,” paid for by CVS, will have to pay an annual $600 penalty.

Obamacare could make such practices more common. The health care reform law allows employers to levy a higher penalty against workers who don’t participate in company wellness programs. In some cases, workers could also have to pay more if they don’t meet certain health targets like appropriate body mass index.

And hey, why shouldn’t they? CVS is well within their rights to impose this type of program. They’re complying with privacy laws, since the information they’re collecting will only be reviewed by the firm administering the benefits, and there are plenty of similar such programs that private-sector companies already use to incentivize workers to complete health assessments. Be ready for this type of thing to become much more common, and much more strict.

I’m with Judge Napolitano: If you don’t like it, don’t blame CVS. The federal government has made it in companies’ specific interests to both hire and engineer healthier employees — which, really, is the entire point of this big-government exercise.


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