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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Editorial: Getting in shape is one thing, but this workplace insurance trend is ominous

  • Or maybe punishing unfit employees isn't that far-fetched.
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  • Healthcare costs are skyrocketing. Is the idea of financially punishing employees due to their poor fitness level really that far-fetched?   
     
        Recently, CVS Pharmacy, a large national drugstore chain, adopted a new policy for employees on its healthcare plan. By May 1, 2014, each of the company's 200,000 employees are asked see a doctor and have vitals, such as weight, body fat and glucose levels, reported to their insurance provider. If they choose not to do this, those in non-compliance will begin paying an additional $50 per month for insurance, totaling $600 a year.
        The idea behind this "optional" personal information submission is to end up with a healthier workforce that works harder and costs the company less money. CVS is quoted as saying, " The benefits program is evolving to help our colleagues take more responsibility for improving their health and managing health-associated costs."
        Although the Rhode Island based company has said it will never see the health screen results (doubtful) and participation is completely voluntary (as long as you don't mind an extra fifty bucks coming out your paycheck each month), one has to wonder what possible repercussions may be on the horizon for not only CVS employees, such as those at their Grand Forks location, but for everyone who participates in an employer-provided healthcare plan.
        Is this the new trend? Will employers base the cost of our medical plans on how fit we are? Are our jobs at stake if we literally don't shape up? Will we be forced to consider every food choice thinking about not only about what is best for our bodies, but the impact on our insurance premiums or employment status? Chocolate chip cookie manufacturers beware. Your industry is about to go bust.

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