WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 20, 2013, 09:36 PM

CVS Pharmacy taking controversial step with health care

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A new policy for CVS Pharmacy employees has a lot of people talking.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A new policy for CVS Pharmacy employees has a lot of people talking.

They are requiring employees on the company health care plan to provide their weight, body fat, and glucose levels or pay up.

Put up or pay up.

A new CVS Pharmacy policy will require employees to provide health information like weight, body fat, glucose levels and other vitals.

If they refuse, they pay an extra $50 per month for insurance.

Some say that is going too far.

Mary Emerson, Fargo Resident: "I feel that they should not have to reveal personal information to the employer."

Robin Lacher, Dislikes the Idea: "It also makes me uncomfortable that it might be a qualifier for a job."

Sue Humphers-Ginther is a sociology professor at MSUM.

She says she is not surprised to hear about the move and that our country's treatment of healthcare as a benefit through employment plays a role.

Sue Humphers-Ginther, Ph.D./Professor of Sociology: "More and more, we're seeing employers like CVS try to find ways to shift those costs because they're so expensive and they just keep rising faster than the rate of inflation."

CVS says the reason for the policy change is to help employees take more responsibility for their health, and also to save on healthcare costs.

Research suggests that healthy employees are up to three times more productive and take fewer sick days than those in poor health.

But some say the invasion of privacy is just too much.

Lacher: "I'm just hoping that this isn't a forerunner of delving more into people's private lives."

Humphers-Ginther: "We may see more companies try to follow suit. But I also expect that in some companies employees are going to rise up and reject that."

The decision affects 200,000 employees nationwide. Local CVS employees declined to comment.