CVS is in the hot seat today after it was revealed that employees must undergo a WebMD wellness review by May 1 or face a $50 per month/$600 per year penalty. The problem isn’t with the wellness exam itself; it's that employees will need to have their weight, blood glucose level, blood pressure, cholesterol numbers and Body Mass Index (BMI) recorded. This information will be kept confidential.

The company defended its plan, saying it is just part of a growing healthcare trend, “The use of health screenings by employer-sponsored health plans is a common practice. According to a National Business Group on Health survey, 79 percent of employers offered a health assessment in 2011 and 76 percent of those employers offered incentives for completion. Also, 62 percent of large employers offered biometric screenings and 52 percent of those employers offered incentives for completion.”  Source: Today.com

I think CVS has the right idea, but I think they're going about it the wrong way. I receive my health insurance through my husband’s company, which has partnered with Alere to offer health and wellness programs to employees. I have participated in several challenges and I’ve readily disclosed my weight, blood glucose level, blood pressure, cholesterol numbers and BMI. (I’m not a petite gal, either; I need to exercise more and lose weight.)

The difference between what I’ve done and what CVS employees have to do, though, is that I submitted my information voluntarily. There is no penalty for not submitting information, but there is a financial incentive for participating in the programs offered through Alere. Money motivates, whether it is in the form or a penalty or a reward — but a reward is certainly a more positive motivator.  

What do you think — is the CVS requirement an invasion or privacy or an attempt to help employees improve their health? Would you share your information or pay the penalty?

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