Should employees be forced to undergo health screenings to get coverage under their employer’s insurance plan?
I say "No." However, this trend is on the rise, thanks to health care reform.
Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, many companies are forcing its employees to undergo a physical examination in order to get health insurance, or be levied with a surcharge. I received a letter from my employer at the hospital stating that I needed to see a physician in the human resources department, or I would be forced to pay a penalty of $50 extra each month.
Companies like CVS Caremark are also asking workers to undergo health screenings to measure weight, body fat, glucose levels and other vitals, or pay up to $600 more a year for their health insurance. The reason this is happening is because companies are desperate to try to find ways to cut costs, or perhaps, disqualify some employees from standard policies and recommend they instead look for coverage through a public exchange.
In my opinion, this is fundamentally wrong. It takes away the privacy of the individual, and it’s a form of discrimination. I don’t have a problem with companies promoting healthy habits for its employees – which happens sometimes, almost to the point of harassment.
Yes, people should lose weight, eat healthier, stop smoking and incorporate exercise into their daily routine – we’ve been telling them that for years. But to force them by making them pay, knowing full-well that financial penalties could compromise an individual’s ability to provide for their family is just plain wrong.
Unfortunately, I know this will one day be the norm in our country as we watch our freedoms disappear.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Click here for more information on Dr. Manny's work with Hackensack University Medical Center. Visit AskDrManny.com for more.