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CVS to Start Health Incentive Program

12:40 PM, Mar 21, 2013   |    comments
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The nearly 200,000 people who work at CVS pharmacies across the United States will soon have to submit personal health information, like their weight, or face a hefty fee.

The added healthcare cost is not sitting well with some, while others think it is fair and all part of living a healthy lifestyle.

Starting this May, it will cost CVS employees $50 a month or $600 a year if they refuse to turn in their personal health information. A third party will be collecting the information for CVS Caremark, the parent company of CVS pharmacies.

A CVS spokesperson tells us that the company started informing employees about the fee last July.

A health assessment will record an employee's weight, body fat, glucose levels and other vitals. CVS explains that in order "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. "

CVS says the reason for the change in its health policy is to help its employees be as healthy as they can be.

The former Erie County Health Commissioner says employers need to be fair about these policies, and he thinks more companies will follow suit.

"If you drive recklessly and crash your car, then you have to open your wallet and fix your car, but with healthcare it's never been that way, but I think we're going to see it that way in the future," says Dr. Anthony Billittier.

But, some advocates for the privacy rights of patients say that incentives like this are the wrong approach for companies to take.

"They may want a healthier workforce, but they're going about it in a destructive way that really offends people and violates their privacy," says Dr. Deborah Peel.

On facebook, we have already gotten more than two-hundred comments about this story.

Judi says, "I'm pretty sure most companies are doing that now. My company has been doing this for two years."

And Deborah thinks, "Wow, this is discrimination! The world has gone mad!"

CVS says the third party collecting the results will not share information with CVS Caremark.

And, another change in the healthcare policy is coming next year. Smokers who work for CVS have been told they have to quit smoking by 2014, or go through a smoking-cessation program.

Channel 2's parent company, Gannett, participates in a health and wellness program, too. Employees who do not smoke or use tobacco receive a $60 per month wellness credit.

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