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EEOC Rules for Wellness Programs
EEOC Rules for Wellness Programs
Final Rules Released for Compliance with ADA and GINA

Recent wellness headlines have ranged from “Employers Advised To Revisit Wellness Programs” to “Benefit Experts Welcome Clarity Of EEOC Wellness Rules” to “EEOC Says Wellness Program Participation Can Reap Big Rewards.” Employers should take note that final rules addressing wellness programs were issued recently, and a review of your program in light of these rules may be in order.
Notable highlights from the new regulations are as follows:
  • Effective date is January 1, 2017. Or more specifically, the first day of the plan year that begins on or after January 1, 2017, for the plan used to determine the permissible level of incentives under this rule;
  • Financial incentives are a major focus of these rules. They stipulate things like:
    • The value of incentives must be capped at 30% of the cost of individual-only insurance;
    • All types of incentives, from financial to in-kind, must be included. In-kind incentives could be time off, merchandise and other rewards;
    • The incentive limit applies whether or not the wellness program is part of a group health plan. The wellness program is not considered to be part of a group health plan if it is offered to all employees regardless of their enrollment in an employer-sponsored group health plan.
  • Employee notice is required. Wellness programs must provide a notice to employees if medical information is collected even if no incentive is offered for providing the medical information. The EEOC will provide a sample notice on their website later this month.
These rules are not expected to diminish the increasing trend of employers adopting wellness and well-being initiatives, and of those offering initiatives to expand what they offer. National surveys consistently document these trends.
Additional information is available online from the EEOC. The final rules are posted for those seeking the nitty gritty detail and there is a separate FAQ for ADA versus GINA. And specifically for small businesses, see separate fact sheets for ADA versus GINA.

Take the next step
Want to make a real difference in your organization’s wellness program? Complete your bachelor’s degree online with University of Wisconsin Health and Wellness Management. And, beginning this fall (pending approval by the Higher Learning Commission), the Master of Science in Health and Wellness Management will be an option for those seeking a graduate-level degree.

 
 
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