In April, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) gave the nod to limited wellness incentives to promote participation in wellness programs. The incentives are for a maximum of 30% of the total cost of employee coverage. (See our post at HR Web Cafe for related EEOC fact sheets, legal opinions and more) It should be noted that the EEOC action is a proposed rule only at this point – EEOC is accepting feedback on the rule through June 19, 2015.
In an excellent article in the blog of the prestigious journal Health Affairs, Kristin Madison offers a deeper look at The ACA The ADA, and Wellness Program Incentives. She notes the ACA role:
“The Affordable Care Act offered support for the development and expansion of health incentives in a variety of ways, including by lifting the ceiling on health-contingent wellness incentives to 30 percent (close to $1,800 annually for an average employee-only plan) and inviting regulators to increase the ceiling to 50 percent if appropriate. In a 2013 final rule, regulators preserved the 30 percent ceiling as a general matter but allowed it to rise to 50 percent for programs targeting tobacco use.”
She digs deeper into unresolved issues and offers thoughts on how the EEOC guidance aligns with other laws. For example, the Americans With Disabilities Act regulations and guidance, which “… limits medical examinations and disability-related inquiries, but provides an exception for ‘voluntary medical examinations, including voluntary medical histories, which are part of an employee health program.’”
We’ll keep you posted as the incentive issue evolves. Meanwhile, checkout our free whitepaper: The Impact of Premium Incentives on your Benefits Budget