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CVS requiring employees to undergo height, weight, health assessment

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

CVS Caremark is requiring each of its 200,000 employees enrolled in the company’s health plan to undergo height, weight and blood assessments or face a paying an extra $50 a month — or $600 a year — in health insurance costs.

While patient-privacy activists have cried foul, Michael DeAngelis, a CVS spokesman, explained that the goal is health.

“We want to help our employees to be as healthy as they can be, which is why we decided to implement this plan,” he explained in an email  to The Daily Caller. “In fact, we have been working for a number of years on ways they can improve their health through preventive measures.”

The new mandate is reportedly causing a stir among patient-privacy advocates.

“This is an incredibly coercive and invasive thing to ask employees to do,” Patient Privacy Rights founder Deborah Peel told the Boston Herald, noting that such policies are becoming more prevalent as health costs increase.

“Rising health care costs are killing the economy, and businesses are terrified,” she continued to the Herald. “Now, we’re all in this terrible situation where employers are desperate to get rid of workers who have costly health conditions, like obesity and diabetes.”

Citing a National Business Group on Health survey, DeAngelis noted that 79 percent of “large employers” offered a health assessment, with 76 percent including incentives for completion.

“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,” he explained.

The Huffington Post, however pointed out that a 2012 Kaiser survey found that just 18 percent of employers requested that their employees undergo an assessment, with some imposing a penalty for noncompliance.

CVS contends that patient privacy will remain protected, in a manner “consistent with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)] regulations.”

“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 health care,” DeAngelis added.

CVS Caremark is the largest pharmacy health-care provider in the country.

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