Pharmacy retailer CVS is requiring all employees on the company's health insurance plan to reveal their height, weight, and body fat percent, as well as other personal information, or pay a $600 annual fine.
The mandate by the Rhode Island-based corporation that employs approximately 200,000 individuals nationwide has privacy and employee advocates up in arms.
Called "A Plan for Health," the new policy announced Wednesday requires the information be provided by May 1. Additionally, employees are required to be tobacco free or must enroll in an addiction program by 2014, reported San Francisco CBS affiliate KCBS
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"These changes aren’t just about costs, they’re about us, each of us taking personal accountability for our own health," said Lisa Bissacia, CVS senior vice president and chief human resources officer, in a video released by the company. She described the new program as progressive and cutting edge.
Joshua Kersey, a Tampa labor attorney, suggested to Fox News that more companies will begin instituting similar measures due to Obamacare
"The more money it's going to save the employer, the more incentive the employer has to affect these types of programs," Kersey said. "It is voluntary because you're welcome to get healthcare through someone else."
By encouraging their employees to live a healthier lifestyle, and thereby require less medical care, employers will save money in the long-term through reducing health insurance costs.
Privacy rights advocates blasted CVS' new program.
"This is an incredibly coercive and invasive thing to ask employees to do," Patient Privacy Rights founder Dr. Deborah Peel told the Boston Herald.
"Rising health care costs are killing the economy, and businesses are terrified," Peel added. "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."
Employment attorney Richard Schramm suggested that such a proposal would likely lead to future legal action on the part of affected employees.
"(CVS Executives) better get some pretty good legal counsel and decide whether your policy is really legal, because the policy as announced is not legal," Schramm told CBS' KPIX 5.
"If we granted that right to employers, employers could tell employees who to date, who to see, what kinds of foods to eat, what to drink, all kinds of behavior off site could be controlled. And that’s absolutely not the law in California," he said.
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According to CVS, the information provided by its employees will be entered directly into WebMD by the workers themselves and the company will not have access to it.
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