The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a proposed rule that provides guidance on how wellness programs can comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). We’ll highlight some of the most important provisions.
Employers that provide group healthcare coverage increasingly offer workplace wellness programs. These programs may include nutrition classes, onsite exercise facilities, weight loss and smoking cessation programs, and coaching to help employees meet health goals. They also might incorporate health risk assessments and biometric screenings that measure an employee’s health risk factors, such as weight and cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure levels.
Some employers offer incentives to encourage their workers to participate in wellness programs, and some offer incentives based on achieving certain health outcomes. Incentives often take the form of prizes, cash, or a reduction or increase in healthcare premiums or cost sharing (including copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance). Incentives may also be framed as rewards to participating employees who achieve certain health outcomes or penalties if participating employees don’t achieve the health outcomes.
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