CVS Employees to Hand Over Medical Info or Risk Penalty



CVS to Employees: Provide Personal Health Data or Pay More

Employees of the CVS Caremark Corporation are being asked to voluntarily divulge personal health information - or otherwise pay an additional annual premium for their health coverage.

By Brett Spiegel

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THURSDAY, March 21, 2013 —The pharmacy company CVS Caremark Corporation — which employs 200,000 people — announced yesterday that workers who are covered by their health insurance must visit a doctor and voluntarily disclose certain health stats — weight, height, body fat, blood pressure and other health indicators — or pay an additional 0 per year in insurance premiums.

CVS says the move is intended to gather information to build a better wellness program for employees. While CVS is planning to turn over the information to a third party firm that will design worker benefits support, they say they are not doing so without employee permission, and, according to the the LA Times, they are covering related doctor bills.

“CVS Caremark is committed to providing medical coverage and healthcare programs for our colleagues and privacy is rigorously protected, consistent with HIPAA regulations," the company announced in a statement. "All personal health data from these screenings are collected and reviewed by a third-party administrator that supports the CVS Caremark Wellness Program, and this data is not shared with CVS Caremark — rather it is designed to help employees make the best decisions about their own healthcare."

“We want to help our employees to be as healthy as they can be, which is why we decided to implement this plan. In fact, we have been working for a number of years on ways they can improve their health through preventive measures," the company added.

CVS employees and shoppers have expressed outrage and took to Twitter in response to health privacy concerns, especially in regard to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, more commonly known as HIPAA, implemented to protect personal health information.

"Your statement was about as clear as mud, your new health policy is now influencing my thoughts on where to do my shopping," tweeted ‏Jolene Sugarbaker on CVS' Twitter feed @CVS_Extra.

"Awful thing you're doing. I bet HIPAA is violated and this will be found to be illegal," tweeted Patrick Burke also on CVS' Twitter feed @CVS_Extra.

Employer requests like CVS Caremark's for personal health data are not new though. According to the National Business Group on Health — which describes itself as "the nation's only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers' perspective on national health policy issues" — roughly 80 percent of employers asked their workers for personal health assessments in 2011, of which three-fourths offered financial or other incentives for completion.

And according to a 2012 Kaiser survey, 18 percent of employers requested employee personal health data, of which only 9 percent of the surveyed larger firms imposed a monetary penalty for those who didn't cooperate.

In its statement, CVS explained the rationale behind the 0 annual extra cost for company employees who did not provide the data: “To encourage a higher level of participation in our wellness review, we reviewed best practices and determined that an additional cost for those who do not complete the review was the most effective way to incent our colleagues to improve their health care and manage health costs.”

However, some believe that such employee health assessments will become even more commonplace as the Affordable Care Act is implemented and employers try to save money as they begin to bear more of the cost for their workers' insurance premiums. “We’re going to see this a lot more,” employment attorney Valerie Samuels, JD, told the Boston Herald. “In the past three, four, five years, employers have been facing horrible problems with rising health insurance costs, and now we’re seeing that they are using a ‘stick’ approach to health efforts, because the voluntary programs are not making enough of a dent in the premiums.”

"The more money it's going to save the employer, the more incentive the employer has to affect these types of programs," Joshua Kersey, JD, a Tampa labor attorney, told Fox News. "It is voluntary because you're welcome to get health care through someone else," he added.

However, Patient Privacy Rights founder Deborah Peel, MD, told ABC News: “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."

“It’s technology-enhanced discrimination on steroids," added Dr. Peel.






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Date: 10.12.2018, 14:14 / Views: 65163