A new medical disclosure policy at CVS Caremark has caused a huge stir. Workers who use the company’s health insurance plan must submit personal information such as height, weight, blood pressure, body fat, and glucose levels. This new policy will impact about 200,000 employees.
Those employees who participate will qualify for a reduction in their health insurance premium. Those who refuse to disclose must pay an additional $50 per month or $600 per year for the insurance program. CVS is giving its workers until May 1, 2014 to record this information. Costs for medical screenings are being paid by CVS.
CVS contends the plan is voluntary and that the results are provided to an independent company so that it never sees the information. Many media outlets jumped on this story and reported this policy upon learning of this new requirement. Proponents and opponents of wellness incentive programs have been entering the conversation since.
This wellness policy is consistent with companies trying to encourage a healthier workforce, which tends to result in decreased absences from work, improved employee retention, and increased productivity. More and more companies are implementing wellness programs in their workplace that contain certain financial incentives for those employees who work out or do not smoke (or quit). One study reported in The Harvard Business Review suggested $6 in savings for every dollar invested in this type of program. Thus far, courts have upheld such wellness programs that are tied to health plans and that are created to underwrite, classify, or administer risks under such plans.