I’m Boycotting CVS

fight backCVS has implemented a so-called wellness program in which employees must go to a doctor to get their weight, body fat, glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure measured, and submit those measurements to a third party healthcare company. They are required to sign a form saying that they are giving this information voluntarily, but if they don’t “volunteer” they are charged an extra $600 a year by CVS.

CVS says that they will never see the information. According to TODAY, CVS’s policy states:  “Going forward, you’ll be expected not just to know your numbers – but also to take action to manage them.”

What the hell does that mean? Who decides what constitutes “manage?” Are we headed toward compulsory dieting?  Compulsory medication?

Even looking past this gross invasion of privacy, telling employees to use their off-work time to go to the doctor, get their numbers, submit their numbers to a third party, and then “do something” about the numbers is about the laziest attempt I’ve ever seen at employee wellness.  There is no actual wellness in CVS’s program unless they think that shame and monetary penalties are the path to health.

I said this yesterday and I’ll say it again today:  When we reward and punish people for “health” and “healthy behaviors” we create an environment that ignores the complexities of health, dis/ability, and individual circumstances creating an environment of shame and blame that are the precise opposite of the goals of public health.

You know what has been shown to be seriously detrimental to health?  Poverty.  According to glassdoor.com, a CVS Cashier Sales Associate makes $8.19/hour.  That puts them at about 150% of the Federal Poverty line – and that’s if they’re single with no dependents and they manage to get a full-time schedule (Thanks to reader Lynn for pointing that out.)  If these people stand up for themselves and refuse to hand over private medical information, what effect does that have on their day to day lives?  Do they take $50 a month out of their grocery budget?  Do they skip going to the doctor? Is it fair that a CVS pharmacist can choose to protect their medical privacy for less than an hours of pay each month, but a CVS cashier would lose 6 hours of pay a month (and a much higher percentage) of their wages?

Not to mention that this inappropriately conflates weight and health in a way that is highly problematic while ignoring the fact that even if we believe people would be healthier if they were thinner, there isn’t any method shown to work long-term for more than a tiny fraction of people.  Other numbers can be heavily influenced by circumstances outside someone’s control.  Even if you believe that employers should take health measurements from employees and threaten that they are “expected to manage” those numbers, doing so is much more complicated than it sounds.

But maybe it’s not a gross overreach into their employees personal health information, maybe it’s a profit driver.  Per CNN Money, CVS has 163,000 employees.  If half of these employees stand up for themselves, that generates an extra $48,900,000 per year. Where does that money go?

This is not ok.  It is not ok to call handing over private health information “voluntary” when not doing it comes with a non-voluntary monetary penalty that could have consequences for employees’ ability to pay their bills.  I agree with Dr. Deborah C. Peel, the founder of Patient Privacy Rights, who said “Many employers want to do something for their workers, but very few of them are stupid enough to say give us the information and sign this form and say it’s voluntary,”

I’m standing up. I’m speaking out against this in whatever way I can.  I’m boycotting CVS until they end this policy.  I signed the petition on change.org. What about you?

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Published in: on March 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm  Comments (110)  

110 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I was just about to go look for a petition there, and was planning to make one if not. Totally in!

  2. This doesn’t make sense in another way: Our local CVS hires a lot of teenagers and college students. So how exactly are these not-yet-adults going to even make sense of all this? Not only does this drag them into the vortex of bizarre non-health, but it drags their families in as well.

  3. I was sure you would tackle this subject & am so glad you did. Off to sign the petition… and I get regular emails from CVS with coupons/deals, so I will write to them directly as well.

    • Their email is run by robots so I printed it out & am sending to their snail-mail address…

      >> call 1-800-746-7287 or mail us at CVS Corporation, Customer Relations, One CVS Drive, Woonsocket, RI 02895.

  4. It’s a profit driver in every way — if half of those employees “voluntarily” go on statins to “manage their numbers”, CVS also profits.

    • Spot on here!

      • what’s a statin?

        • Statins are drugs used to lower cholesterol.

  5. You know what has been shown to be seriously detrimental to health? Poverty. According to glassdoor.com, a CVS Cashier Sales Associate makes $8.19/hour.

    Right on, Ragen. This is a hypocritical, discriminatory, and privacy-invading policy.

  6. I work for the state of Tennessee all employees are given the “option” to participate in the “Partners For Health” program that is very similar to what it sounds like CVS is doing. I have to get my physical and since I am overweight participate in this program that will issue me a “health counselor” to work on my “At risk behavior” via phone calls. If I do not participate in this program I will be charged a substantial amount more for our regular PPO. Its a boatload of bull if you ask me. Yes I am aware I am overweight, but you know what, my cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, and all other numbers are lower than that of my “healthy” (read: SKINNY) counterparts. Sigh.

    • We had something sort of similar here at work, but it was a situation in which I could get back up to $150 over the year by participating in a health program. I had to take a health screening and fill out a form online with my numbers. That got me $75 to spend. Then I had to take online classes (simple and quick) that were metered out so you ended up spending about 30 minutes every other week for two months. That got me the next bonus money. The last thing was to work with a health counselor (who was not a nurse, dietician, trainer or otherwise certified) to guide me in my health issues. I worked it such that I kept arguing with the counselor that my moods were the worst of my health issues and I ended up finishing the program by recording my walking (steps) goals and talking to them 6 times over the year, griping about my marriage. LOL… got my money and didn’t have to hear about weight loss

      • We have something similar where I work. And I did the same sort of thing – took all the options that were NOT weight related in order to complete the “goals” and earn the discount/refund. (I don’t mind the exercise goals – because increased activity is a health benefit for ALL.)🙂

    • Ugh! This makes me so very mad. I’m overweight, I just had a check-up and my BP, cholesterol, etc were all perfect!! My doctor actually told me I was the picture of health! Yep, ME! I’m fat but healthy in every way (if you discount the fact that I have an auto-immune disease, lol). My skinny husband is very trim, his weight is right where it is “supposed” to be and he has high BP and high cholesterol. At risk behavior?!

    • Same here with my husband’s job. I like how they say its “optional” but if we DON’T partake in it, he has to pay more. Then if we DO do the inane classes and extra crap, we just get the privilege of paying exactly what we would pay otherwise? All on our own time? It’s stupid. What is worse, my husband has an eating disorder, so he is WELL aware that he has a problem. The idea that them telling him he’s fat, and that he needs to count calories and be on a diet, that is supposed to be helpful? Pfft.

  7. Signed. We have to get our prescriptions filled there, but never will I buy another thing there until this pollicy is changed.

    • do you not have another option for your meds?

      • Nope. That’s where our insurance requires we get ’em filled.

        • That sucks. if you can’t change insurance (tough to do, I know), at least let them know that the requirement to get prescriptions filled only at CVS is problematic.

          • Every year the insurance benefits are more expensive and less inclusive. This insurance is the only PPO offered by my husband’s employer. We get that instead of an HMO because of my assorted health issues. It allows us to pick the doctor instead of having to use the ones the plan requires. As a fat woman this option is invaluable. I’ve had to change doctors on occasion and would not have been able to had I had an HMO. Sadly, as time goes on, the “Cadilac of Health Plans” as they call the PPO is becoming more of an stripped down model.

            • It horrifies me that a PPO is the Cadillac of health plans, when it’s really pretty basic. It’s just that HMOs are broken-down Yugos, so PPOs are Caddies by comparison.

              • “Broken-down Yugos” made me laugh out loud. Sadly, so very true, too.

      • We are also forced to use CVS for our on-going prescriptions. There is a mail order pharmacy, but after 2 different instances where we’ve waited 7+ days for refills (recurrent meds for our son and my husband that are not the variety you should just stop on a dime), we don’t feel comfortable relying on their ‘efficient’ service. So yeah, other than the meds we’re forced to buy from them, no more CVS anything.

        • You may find that changing. Recently my doctor faxed in a prescription. I discovered he had sent in one that had no generic because he thought it did. The fax went out at 5PM I called the next morning at 8am to ask them to hold the medication while I sorted out a generic alternative. They told me it had already gone out! And, because there was no generic, they had kindly charged me the full price instead of contacting me or the doctor first.

  8. Signed, and boycotting.

  9. I signed the petition – this is absolutely ludicrous! You know if this thing happens, it’s going to start happening in other places too. I have a lot of prescriptions at CVS, I’m going to have to move them all.

  10. When I read about this yesterday, my first thought was “never going to CVS again.” Man, the number of businesses I’m cutting off is getting numerous!

    I have a MAJOR problem with companies knowing health information at all. I have no faith that the information will not be used in a detrimental way. And CVS has just gone over the edge!

    Those employee health fairs make me nervous too. Who gets the information gathered? What is done with it?

  11. I don’t give a fig if I have to pony up hundreds of bucks up front to order from Express Scripts or drive out of my way, I flat out refuse to shop at CVS until they get a freaking clue. Appalled doesn’t begin to cover it.

  12. Thankfully I’m already getting my prescription through Rite Aid or I would have to yank it from CVS immediately. This is going to keep me out of their stores.

  13. Signed. This policy is wrong in so many ways. I don’t go to CVS for much, but I will be certain not to go to them at all!

  14. So is this to say that only people in perfect health, whatever that means…, are the only people who can have a job? Or to be hired? I have a thin friend who naturally has high cholesterol. No matter what she does, she cant seem to lower it. Is she “black listed” and wont be able to get a job. This is just so much crap, we have come to the point where everyone is in everyone’s business. Now with the attitude that “I am paying for your health care, you do as I say” and of course the “you are causing my heath care to be more expensive” and on and on. It is crazy.

  15. My employer (Large enough…) Has the same policy…for us it’s an $800 “credit towards our deductable” if we participate in both the screening *and* are smoke free…most of us cannot afford to refuse that credit…

  16. This…….I can’t even express my anger over this.

    So by ‘manage’ do you think I would be allowed to manage my numbers UP?

    Ha! Signing!

  17. A similar policy was put in place at R&M my husbands previous employer. The wellness program required that we submit to blood work, weight & body measurements, and then address the issues found. I was required to watch videos and submit an exercise/eating plan. My husband was supposed to submit a stop smoking plan. I called HR to voice my opinion and was told that there health insurance premiums for the whole company depended on 100% participation. I was warned that this is the way insurance & employers were going to mitigate risk. Next we could see people loosing coverage if the don’t “fix” the numders.

  18. Damn! I just went and read the comments on one of the news websites about their CVS health check article. The usual fat haters were out in full force. Like I said about yesterday’s post, I feel like I am beating my head against a brick wall. I do not understand how everyone is so damn clueless about obesity – even doctors. Does no one understand the failure rate stats of dieting? Ok, I’m going to breathe into a paper bag and try to calm down my hyper-ventilation.

    • Very short sighted of the fat-haters. This sort of policy will impact anyone with a metric outside what the insurance company considers optimal.

  19. Fortunately for me, I do not have CVS in my area. But I’m still going to post a message to them about how offensive and intrusive the policy is and that I will advise all my friends and family to take business elsewhere.

  20. Wow doing this totally defies logic and medical science. It also ignores hiring and qualifying employees who know how to do the job, and extremely well. that’s totally unacceptable to fire someone because they don’t have “perfect” help even if they’re contributing just fine regarding the store’s success.

  21. >a CVS Cashier Sales Associate makes $8.19/hour. That puts them at about 150% of the Federal Poverty line – and that’s if they’re single with no dependents.

    It’s worse. They’re only at 150% of the poverty line IF they get to work full time. Companies like CVS make sure to never schedule hourly workers more than about 25 hours per week — 30 hours is the floor for full time and incurs responsibilities on employers that they don’t have for employees who work less than 30 hours.

    Most CVS cashiers probably get scheduled between 15 and 25 hours a week. If they’re getting 25 hours a week, a single person with no dependents is below the poverty line.

    • You are exactly right, I fixed it in the blog.

      ~Ragen

      ________________________________

  22. Signed it. I once was given the “voluntary” option of seeing a shrink in another city for evaluation on my own time and expense. reason? They wanted to upgrade security clearances for my department, and I had seen a shrink for a few months in college – 15 years earlier. when I refused (my father was in the hospital dying at the time), they yanked the clearance I had for 6 years. That led to my losing the job. Frankly, laying me off was the best thing they ever did for me.

    Someone at CVS needs to look up “voluntary” in a dictionary.

    • In the military the word is voluntold.🙂

  23. Wow. So bodily autonomy is now less important than a company’s financial well being.

    If companies want to save money, they should lobby to get health care out of the workplace, instead of coming up with ways to intrude on their employees’ lives.

    Or are we going back to the middle ages, where feudal overlords have total power over the people who work for them?

  24. And one more thing (then I am done – promise)…

    I have recently been receiving mail from my insurance company. Wellness program stuff, weight loss suggestions, exercise, heart stuff, etc.

    Then I received a lab order from an insurance company doctor, telling me it was time to have blood pulled to check my diabetes numbers, etc., etc. The thing is, I had already had it done through my real doctor. I keep up with it regularly and am very much into keeping my numbers in line.

    When I received the lab order, it really gave me pause – they are definately keeping tabs on us. I am curious to see how much this escalates. I called them to find out why they would send me a lab order when I already have a doctor and they acted like it was a normal procedure. I have never heard of such of a thing until recently. I did contact my regular doctor’s office and it turns out that other people called them about the same thing.

    It’s gonna get real ugly out there.

    • For years and years I have been getting calls and letters from BCBS IL about joining their program where a nurse helps you monitor your health issues. Since I am convinced they are more concerned with my weight/BP than my autoimmune disease I have ignored them all. I hope they never become mandatory!

    • They did something like that (but not as bad) to me. I was prescribed a medication for another health issue that also happens to be a diabetes medication. I got all these pamphlets about diabetes, and even a call from Cigna’s diabetes specialists. I had to explain to them (I believe on more than one occasion) that I am not diabetic and never have been.

  25. This is so out of line, I have no words to describe how angry this makes me. I’m now done shopping at CVS.

    Signing the petition and sharing it with my friends.

  26. I’m so glad you addressed this. It made me so angry when I heard this. To target a group who is so vulnerable to bullies is just outrageous. I’m also boycotting them and I let them know.

    • I’m getting beaten to a pulp on my facebook page by folks who think this is fine. Just … yikes. It’s so disheartening.

      • Wait until the insurance companies decide something else is undesirable and more and more people are affected. If this isn’t nipped in the bud now, it will be impossible to reverse when they decide blue-eyed brunettes are an anomaly! Or whatever thing comes up next year.

      • You know if they did the exact same thing to smokers (which some may, I don’t know), people would be up in arms about it.

        • Not really, they have done this to smokers for years. Try drinkers. If they did this to people who drink, at all, there would be an outcry. Lets try it. heheheheheh

  27. The hospital I work at does this. Its voluntary to be part of the program, but if you are not, then you pay more for your insurance. I hate it. If you want to encourage healthy habits, go for it, but don’t blackmail me into it.

  28. Bad thing is I am STUCK with CVS for my prescriptions! Is the only place I can get my meds that I have to take daily. Really SUCKS!

  29. Petition signed. I don’t go to CVS if I can help it since every time we go in there they stalk Mr. Twistie certain – I think – that he’s going to do some heavy shoplifting, but now I have another reason never to darken their doors again.

  30. Signed and boycotting.
    This policy is
    Crap,
    Violating, and
    Stupid.

    • 🙂 cute

  31. I saw this on a Facebook link and immediately thought of you Ragen. And I just got back from CVS this evening too! It’s right down the road from my home, hell I can walk there and back. I get my prescriptions there and this is so frustrating. Wellness is automatically being used as a code word for “weight loss” and it shouldn’t be at all. Wellness is overall health, including mental, emotional, and non-weight physical health. It’s not just a number on a scale.

    CVS should worry more about their employees providing good customer service and filling medicines properly, instead of what waist size they are and forcing them to participate in a program that should be a choice. Shame on them!

  32. I found many problems with the article..

    First. I am pretty sure it is illegal to ask those things and share them with a third party.

    Second. You should not have to pay $600 for not taking part in a “Voluntary” program.

    Third. They didn’t say whether or not it is just fat people or it is thin people as well, because, if it is just fat people, then we have a very big issue, since you know thin people can have high blood pressure, be diabetic, etc.

    • I am pretty sure it is illegal to ask those things and share them with a third party.

      This is what I’m wondering about especially. If anyone more knowledgeable than me about these things happens to be reading — how is this not a HIPAA violation?

      • I’m wondering this too, and thinking that a lawsuit based on this being a HIPAA violation may be what it takes to end the policy.

        It also gives me pause about CVS as, essentially, a healthcare provider. If this company will force their employees to reveal private healthcare information, how can I feel comfortable that CVS will protect my prescription records?

      • Sadly, that’s what the ‘voluntary’ waiver is for. HIPAA prevents your information from being released to anyone unless you allow it in writing. One of the forms you sign when you go to a doctor for the first time is a HIPAA waiver so the can share your info with your health insurance. The form they’re requiring here is almost certainly the same thing for this 3rd party company.

        That these forms are being signed under duress (effectively extortion) gives people affected by this policy a decent chance of getting this overturned as a HIPAA violation, but it’s almost certainly going to take a lawsuit.

        • Agreed. Employees are giving permission, but under duress.

        • That these forms are being signed under duress (effectively extortion)…

          Yeah, this is what I was specifically wondering about. This is really *not* the employees voluntarily releasing their health information.

  33. We’ve been boycotting CVS for a long time since they don’t label some of their homeopathic stuff as homeopathic (Hubby is very much AGAINST homeopahthy…I’m ambivalent). And other reasons, like low wages for their employees.

    There aren’t many CVS stores around here…it’s Walgreens territory. But this just cements an already tenuous situation. Ta ta, CVS…

    • Oh, I WISH they had homeopathic stuff. Instead, the only sulfate-free shower gel I can find there is Burt’s Bees, and sulfate-free shampoo is only a little less difficult to find.

  34. Signed the petition. I found it rather ironic that the next petition in line is “Prevent Childhood Obesity.”

    I will be boycotting CVS and will write them to tell them why.

  35. CVS is, in fact, an evil company worthy of boycotting for many reasons. However, this does not happen to be one of them. A flyer was sent out to employees mentioning some new changes that will apply to their insurance plans. Whoever sent you this information does not understand that this is the insurance company’s thing- not CVS. The fines imposed for not following their protocol will go directly to the insurance company of the CVS employee, not CVS.

    To clarify: If you are a CVS employee and do not enroll in their health plan, you aren’t going to be required to get a physical or pay any fines. My guess is that any health insurance someone buys is going to have similar requirements.

    This is all part of Obama Care. He sold us out to the insurance companies in order to get them to take people with pre-existing conditions. They said, “Well, if we do that, we’re going to lose money. How are we going to get more money?” To satisfy them, he made it a law that everyone has to carry health insurance.

    • I believe that CVS is responsible for choosing the insurance company that they work with. Not all insurance companies work like this and they have chosen this and are defending it in policy statements in the media. Boycotting CVS holds them responsible for the decisions that they make in the insurance company that they chose. If companies refuse to hire insurance companies that do this, then the insurance companies will stop.

      ~Ragen

      • Additionally, CVS is a national, multimillion dollar corporation, who almost certainly has considerable bargaining power when it comes to choosing a health insurance provider. I can’t imagine that any insurance company is sufficiently powerful as to unilaterally dictate terms to them.

  36. This happened to me at a previous employer. We were forced into a Blue Cross program called “Healthy Blue Living”. Because my BMI is over 30 I was forced into one of two programs – Weight Watchers or a walking program. My employer would not give us time off to go to WW or to exercise (I was working 50-60 hours per week), so you ended up failing both and getting “penalized”. They also didn’t accept my normal workout of water aerobics 3x per week (I have arthritis and can’t walk everywhere all the time – arthritis that struck when I was a size 8, it’s congenital) and didn’t believe I exercised. It was one of the many reasons I left that employer.

    By devaluing the movement I enjoyed, and forcing me into something that made my physical condition worse, they made me less mobile. All because I don’t fit into their concept of “healthy”. My metabolics are fantastic. My doctor says I’m one of the healthiest patients he has. Unfortunately I have a fat ass, so the insurance company labels me “unhealthy” anyway.

    Still raging about this, and still very, very upset for all those CVS employees.

    • I don’t blame you a bit for leaving. Talk about “my mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.” I hope you found a great job.

  37. When the employer health plan is self-funded, does the employer have the “right” to know your numbers and charge you more for your coverage if your numbers are not in line? That is what is happening where I work. Smokers pay $1200 more for their health insurance. Because my BMI is over 30, I do not get a $150 “bonus” that other employees get.

    • Same here. It is disgusting.

    • That is such bullshit. Seriously? This BMI crap has just gone way too far. Especially since it was NEVER intended to be used for this purpose, and they keep changing what they think obesity is to suit their needs. Makes me so angry.

  38. Sooooo this “wellness” company… they decide what constitutes an employees healthy weight (based on a lab slip) and what someone outside that range can do to “manage your number” based on what? The large peer-reviewed study showing that weight loss is systematically possible, sustainable and leads to better health over say 5-7 years? The one I have yet to see or hear of?

    If an employee is concerned about the dangers of weight-cycling paired with this lack of evidence that weight loss is possible, what happens? If the employee explains that they practice HAES, what happens? Are they penalized -which is exactly what non-incentivized is? Does CVS not have any responsibility here? They are penalizing an employee for not submitting to a practice that has no proof of working and some proof of harming.

  39. I am employed as a teacher in a large, American city. We are also in a wellness program that does the exact same thing as CVS, but I am paying 800 a year for opting out of the program. Luckily, I do not have a spouse or children who depend on my health care, otherwise I would be in more of a bind over this situation. They charge double if you and your spouse choose to opt out. Thankfully, they have not placed parameters on children…..yet. I choose to opt out, but the money does sting a bit. I am so angry over this situation I could spit. Out of all the people I have spoken to, I feel as if I am in the minority of people who are protesting by opting out. This frightens me.

    • I’m curious as to whether this is just your school in your city or if schools in general are moving in this direction. As a student enrolled in a teaching certification program, I’ve been wondering about this issue. My aim is to be teaching at a Christian school, and I’ve wondered if they also participate in these so-called wellness programs. I’m not “overweight” but I am wholeheartedly against this type of discrimination. My job is to teach English, not Thinspiration.

  40. This reminds me of a book that someone including in a presentation on ancient Christianity. The book was about how Gnosticism was a form of totalitarianism: basically everyone is too stupid to realize how to live properly due to multiple gods and demons (which is true?), so someone has to make the “right” choices for you (the prophet).

    This is exactly the same as fascism and communism in the 20th century, and it’s continuing in this “we have to take care of you for you, since you’re too stupid to do it yourself” attitude. Like paying more for not towing the party line.

    • They have a word for that: hubris. It’s often a despicable trait.

  41. The company I work at is too small to call for a big boycott against it. Besides, they’d probably know I was the troublemaker who started it and then I’d be up a creek. I have to admit cowardice in a situation where I could lose the one job I’ve ever had that actually works for my mental illness and fibromyalgia, and I never end up calling in.
    We have this same policy where I work. I ended up with a “poor health risk” rating, primarily because of my BMI. I had to state that I was ‘trying to lose weight,” which I am not. Also, I do have hypertension. It onset at age 45, and is something that happens to a lot of people in that age range regardless of size. Plus, it runs in my family. In my case it is WELL CONTROLLED WITH MEDICATION and is none of their god damn business.
    I’ve missed so few days from work that they had to force me to “use it or lose it” with my paid time off. My fat ass does not “cost” my company money.

    • You are blaming the wrong person. Your employeer is not at fault. The insurance co. charges more to the employeer. The employer pays for half of your premium. So when your cost goes up, so does the company’s cost. We have a small air conditioning business. One of our guys got cancer. ALL the premiums went up, the company’s part and all the employees half. It got so high, we couldnt afford to offer health care. It is the insurance companies who are doing this, not your employer.

      • Not necessarily. I, too, work for a small business. We have an excellent health care plan, but it’s self-funded. In other words, the insurance company just handles the paperwork; my company pays all the bills. So when our medical claims go up, our company usually raises our premiums.

      • However, they charge a flat rate to all employees. It’s just that I don’t get certain “incentives.” This is what I’m saying. I don’t “cost” the insurance company anything because I hardly ever utilize anything that they offer. They do not cover my hypothyroidism because it’s a pre-existing condition. Everything dealing with that, I pay out of pocket.
        The company I work for is not run by innocent little lambs. Trust me on this.

  42. I signed the petition, and will shop walgreens from now on.
    I feel bad for the CVS workers who have to ‘choose’ between their fair pay or discrimination. Blatant greed disguised as a ‘wellness’ program.

    Please tell me they are not getting some sort of subsidy for encouraging ‘Employee Wellness’?

  43. On the news this morning there was a debate regarding this issue. On the “pro” side, was a lawyer that stated this CVS plan had been fully vetted before they even mentioned implementing this stipulation on their healthcare benefit.

    The “con” side was also represented by a lawyer that was saying the HIPPA law protects them, but the pro side definately won the debate. Reading some of the comments above, there are a lot of companies doing this. I wonder why CVS is the first one to get brought out in the open.

    Question: Does my insurance company have the right to look through my medical records to see if I’m keeping up with my bloodwork for diabetes, hypothyroidism, etc.? I understand they have to know what they’re paying out, but can they legally look through my records to see if I’m following protocol? My doctor comes in the examining room with a computer and since his practice takes my insurance, I think everything is automatically uploaded to the insurance company databanks.

    The only thing that sounds reasonable in my mind is they are allowed to make sure that I’m taking all the necessary medical steps so that my disease(s) are under control and they, ultimately, have to pay less because everything is checked regularly and if the numbers a tad off, they can be handled quickly. Not sure. Any ideas?

    • YOu are 100% right. Insurance co. are making the call and Businesses like CVS are passing the cost onto the fat, the smokers, the older, cancer, the ones with a bad heart, etc…. A “healthy” 30 yr old non smoker, good heart, thin person’s cost are not as high as others, therefor why should they have to pay for the old, fat, cancer, smoker etc. This is what it is about. But if you are going to have “group” insurance, that is how it works. Not anymore. People feel they have the “right” not to have to pay for other peoples health problems. What are we to do? Again, as Ragen and others have stated, being fat does not “cause” health problems. What a mess.

      • But thanks to Obamacare, my healthy-as-a-horse husband who went without insurance for years has to buy in to the insurance pool or else pay a fine. Thankfully, he now has an employer that provides health coverage, but that could change. Everyone is feeling the pinch, not just the smokin’ fatties.

  44. The State has sort of the same thing. My husband works for the State of Missouri Prison System and he has the option of using a wellness initiative for himself and his family. You can choose to quit smoking, quit drinking, or lose weight with these programs. You can choose to have someone call you regularly to discuss your progress, or by paper trail and worksheets to turn in. Either way, you have to log in everything on the internet like meal plans, weight, and exercise done. If you stick with the plan and lose weight then you get a certain amount of money off of your insurance that you have to pay each month. Alot of people decide to do this especially when you might pay $400+ dollars a month for insurance, like we do, and are left with an $800 a pay period paycheck like we are. Any little bit might help. I don’t think it’s worth it at all. We tried it, for the reasons I stated, and I felt like I was “under the gun” all the time. “Should I eat this candy bar? It’s a special treat, I know, and I guess I don’t have to log it on the website….but…it might reflect in my weight at the end of the week….” It’s. Not. Worth. It.

    • “Either way, you have to log in everything on the internet like meal plans, weight, and exercise done.”

      HOLY. FUCK. Are you KIDDING ME???? *head explodes*

      What the fuck does this have to do with his job???????????

    • Sounds pretty Orwellian to me. The Nanny State gains more and more control.

    • What happens when you stick to the plan and don’t lose weight? Honest question. What are the consequences?

    • I did the same thing when I was still dieting. It wasn’t mandatory, but my employer encouraged us to be a part of it. I had to have these call-ins with a woman at Cigna all the time and give her my weight and my waist size. I also had to talk to her about what I was eating, my exercise, etc. I eventually stopped answering the phone because I felt so much pressure to be smaller every time she called.

  45. I can’t read the comments on any of the news reports because they make me so sad…the main theme being “I don’t want to pay for the fatties”. Well guess what? I don’t want to pay for people who injure themselves due to excessive exercise, or who drink too much, or any number of risky health behaviors that I, for one, do not participate in. But because I am visibly fat, I must be constantly chowing down fast food while sitting on my couch watching Jerry Springer and clearly don’t care about “taking care of myself”. So so very tired of the anti-fat rhetoric.

    • If the jerks would rather not pay for the fatties, I’d also rather not pay for the jerks. So when can we debate that, huh?

    • No kidding! I also don’t want to pay for men’s Viagra, but I do when I pay Medicare taxes. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t personally agree with. It’s ridiculous that they attack fat people and leave out all this other bullshit.

  46. But, hey, they will give smokers a “pass” if their numbers are good. It’s a *great* plan… not.

  47. Looking at the Today show – and the Boston Herald article.

    This is through WebMD? They are the third party?!

    Follow the link to the CVS site – they are changing pretty much everything to push more costs onto the consumer. They say they are totally covering “preventive care” though it’s not clear how they define it (other than specific meds – which they will cover, in whole or in part.)

    Nowhere do they mention cancer screening… it is *possible* that it is already in place, but…

    OK – it’s specifically for people on the health insurance plan, which means 1) they stress that the screenings are covered (and they’ll generously do them themselves, in some cases – red alert) and 2) if those cashiers are part time, they’re probably not affected – or insured. I’d be more impressed by Employee Wellness if it were clear that all employees had coverage…

    I’m already avoiding our local CVS, since they set up automatic check out – you know, the customer does all the work so they don’t have to hire cashiers. I won’t use those.

  48. This is terrifying. Years ago the fabulous Deb Lemire told me that we were on our way toward putting people in camps. At the time I thought it was a bit over the top. I now believe it is entirely possible.

  49. Thanks for this post. A fellow professional Lightworker posted this on her Facebook page, and I very publicly indicated that I would happily refrain from taking my CA$H to CVS.

    Although I weigh less now than I did last year, it is nonsense like this that Re-Minds me of how much I used to weigh and forget that I have made a lot of progress in not only healthy, physically and emotionally, but simply Loving and accepting my body exactly as it is, and exactly as it is not.

  50. Agree with everything said about this being totalitarian,should be a lawsuit, completely wrong assumptions about health, and I am boycotting CVS. I am planning to go to my neighborhood CVS, give my discount card back, and tell the manager as publicly as possible why. And have signed the petition.
    I know a woman who developed high blood pressure suddenly right after her husband of 40 years died very suddenly (she saw him die), and she was utterly devastated and dealing with the funeral and legal issues. Is CVS planning to harass their employees about numbers even in situations like that?

  51. I’m not American, but is CVS a store or pharmacy like London Drugs? The only stores I know in the US are Safeway, Albertson’s, and Wallgreens.

    • US to UK transplant here– CVS is a bit like Boots.

      • I guess I should have said I’m Canadian, so that doesn’t help much either. Unless you were describing yourself.

        • CVS is like Walgreens. It’s a drugstore while Safeway and Albertson’s are grocery stores.

        • Sorry for assuming! I saw “London Drugs” and thought you literally meant in London.😄 I would never spend more than five minutes there, waaaaay too big a city for my comfort, so I definitely wouldn’t know if there really was a London Drugs there.

          “US to UK transplant” was in reference to me, I basically just meant the closest equiv here is Boots. But since you are NOT in London (or at least, in London, England) that information does squat for you. Sorry. *facepalm*

          • HA! Another correction needed already. Shutting my e-mouth should have been a thing on this occasion apparently, because I not only can’t connect the dots sometimes, I also can’t type.

            “would never spend” was supposed to be “HAVE never spent,” what an awesomely rude Freudian slip on my part. I admit to really not liking the time I was in London but it’s not very fair of me to hold a grudge because I was travel-fatigued and nobody anywhere has a pleasant airport.😄

            I would totally go to London, England to say, look at a museum, or do basically anything other than ride on a plane. It really is too big a city for my comfort mostly though.

        • Thanks both Twistie and seventhbard for the replies. I was going to mention Shoppers Drug Mart too, but that is a Cdn thing too. I thought London Drugs was in the US too, but maybe not.

  52. My last job was the same way about this, only they framed it as a “discount”. If you got the health screening and completed the health survey, you got the $500 “discount”. Otherwise, you’d be paying more money. AND your adult dependents (partners, adult children, etc) had to take the survey as well (which basically asks you all kinds of personal info like when your last rectal exam was…wish I was joking, but that was a question).

  53. I’ve just got finished emailing them. I mean if I wouldn’t be good enough to work for them because I’m overweight then I’m not good enough to spend my hard earned dollars in this store right? I hope everyone sticks with it! What they are doing is wrong.


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