CVS employees face $600 fine unless they disclose their weight

The drug chain plans to hit employees with an extra $50 per month for insurance unless they undergo screenings that assess body fat and weight. Privacy advocates are howling. UPDATE.

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A new policy at CVS requires employees to get a screening which reports body fat, weight, and glucose levels to the company’s insurer. If employees don’t get screened, they have to pay an extra $50 per month, or $600 annually, in penalties.

That’s got privacy advocates upset, the Boston Herald reports.

“This is an incredibly coercive and invasive thing to ask employees to do,” Dr. Deborah Peel, founder of Patient Privacy Rights, told the Herald.

A CVS spokesman said the employees’ personal health information isn’t available to bosses. The program is designed to help employees manage their health costs, he said.

UPDATE: CVS launched a multi-pronged communications effort Thursday in response to the media attention the policy has received. The push included a blog post, a letter from the company’s chief human resources officer, a video featuring the chief medical officer, and a sidebar explaining the benefits of health screenings. The key message of the package is that CVS instituted the policy to help employees improve their health.

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