A major, national pharmacy has made a shift in their health care policy. The pharmacy is requiring every one of its nearly 200,000 employees who use their health care plan to submit their weight, body fat, blood glucose levels and other stats or they will pay a fine. Those who agree to be tested and submit their results will see no change in their health insurance charges but those who refuse will be forced to pay an additional $50 per month for the company’s health insurance. The employees have until May 1, 2014 to schedule with a doctor and get their vitals taken. Critics are calling this type of policy change coercion and the fear is that other pharmacy rancho palos verdes companies and even other companies in general will start firing sick workers.
The founder of the Patient Privacy Rights has said that this type of shift in policy is “technology enhanced discrimination.” The pharmacy rancho palos verdes company has explained that the benefit program is changing to help their employees take more responsibility for their health and their individual health-associated costs. The company goes on to say that they never see the test results but critics do not believe that this makes the policy fair.
One news chief medical editor states that the goals of these programs is to create a more healthy workforce. If the employees are healthy then they will work more effectively and cost the employer less. The pharmacy making this change emphasizes that the use of health screenings by employers for employer sponsored health overages is common practice. Further, it has been ruled that this type of policy is legal. In a lawsuit that was filed in Broward County, Florida, a county employee disputed this type of policy after their employer began charging them an extra $40 per month for their health coverage because they refused health screenings. The person that filed the suit said that the program violated the Americans With Disabilities Act because the employer was seeking medical information about their employees.
Perhaps a company such as this national pharmacy is simply more health conscious than others given that its business revolves around health. And as such is trying to make its staff more healthy and health conscious. It can be argued that it is not the employers role to create a healthy workforce.