According to ABC News, CVS Pharmacy feels that inherently forcing current employees to be health screened in relation to the pharmacy’s new policy within their health plan will help in preserving a healthy workforce at the pharmacy’s chains worldwide.
This specific health plan, which will be implemented in May, is not mandatory, yet the employees that refuse to participate in the health screening will then be forced to pay an extra $50 a month to remain on the company’s coverage.
This adds up to an average of $600 more a year for their health insurance.
The information needed for a proper health screening requires the employees weight, height and blood pressure, that would then go straight to the employees insurance company.
“Health screening is the process of looking at a population perceived to be at risk from a condition to try to identify those who may be at a higher risk of developing a disease and in whom an intervention may be made,” states TheWell.com. “The principle behind health screening is that identifying and treating a condition at an earlier stage improves and prolongs an individuals health and well being.”
Despite the fact that CVS Pharmacy promotes healthy living, this still should not give them license to actively force their employers to conform to their health care standards, by threatening to charge them an extra $50 a month if they refuse. Since divulging information such as weight, height and blood pressure can be an uncomfortable situation for most, imagine being forced by your employer to then divulge again this information that goes straight to your healthcare provider.
Employers, much like employees, have rights, regardless of the “healthy workforce” CVS strives to uphold. The employees should be able to choose for themselves if they want to live a healthier lifestyle, or take proper precautions for their health.
CVS should not be given the right to say otherwise.
Because the average CVS employee makes less than $8 an hour, employers should not expect the average full or part time employee to survive off of a paycheck—not when an extra $50 is taken from their check monthly. With the economy down, the extra $50 removed from their paychecks, could have been essential for taking care of small needs such as gas and groceries. If each employee received a check twice a month, that is essentially $25 out of their pockets each paycheck.
“It’s technology-enhanced discrimination on steroids,” said Dr. Debora Peel, M.D., founder of Patient’s Privacy Rights, to ABC News. “The approach they’re taking is based on the assumption that somehow, these people need to be whipped, they need to be penalized in order to make themselves healthy.”
Like Peel mentioned, CVS does have the legal right, but in reality should not be able to make their employees pay more for something that may go against their own health belief, or go outside their comfort zones.
“The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for personal health information held by covered entities and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information,” said HHS.gov. “At the same time, the Privacy Rule is balanced so that it permits the disclosure of personal health information needed for patient care and other important purposes.”
This indeed shows CVS is in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and states that again, this policy of “forcing” employees to get their health screening done is perfectly legal.
Not morally right, but legal.
Regardless of what act says what, and what law states otherwise; the actions that CVS will implement in May are not fair and may also deeply change the perspective of what is legal and what shouldn’t be. Because in the end, if something is backed up by the law and people stand for it, there it will remain.