Apr 21, 2015

EEOC Issues Proposed Wellness Program Amendments

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AWANE offers its members opportunities to earn money for staying healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Successful wellness programs like the AWANE Rewards Program offer employers the opportunity to curb healthcare costs, increase productivity, improve overall health, and raise morale.

Nearly 90% of employers offer wellness incentives, or financial rewards or prizes, as a means to engage their employees in creating and sustaining a more health conscious lifestyle, according to a recent survey from Fidelity. Rewards offered today are growing from $260 per employee to an average of $521 per employee. That's an increase of 57%.

Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a proposed rule clarifying how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to employer wellness programs that are part of group health plans. The notice follows recent challenges by the EEOC that certain programs violated the ADA because their rewards or penalties essentially made the programs mandatory since employees couldn’t afford not to participate. The law says that wellness programs have to be voluntary.

Up to 30% Incentives Allowed

The rule helps clear up for employers how wellness programs that use health risk assessments and biometric screenings to determine an employee's health risk factors and offer financial and other incentives for employees who achieve certain outcomes can comply with the ADA. Specifically, consistent with HIPAA, it provides that companies may offer incentives of up to 30 percent of the total cost of employee-only coverage in connection with wellness programs.

No Discrimination

Wellness programs can include medical examinations or questions about employees' health (such as questions on a health risk assessment) as long as the programs are reasonably likely to promote health or prevent disease. To further safeguard employee health information, the proposed rule adds a new requirement. Specifically, medical information collected as a part of a wellness program can only be disclosed to employers in aggregate form that doesn’t reveal the employee's identity, and must be kept confidential in accordance with ADA requirements.

Comment Period 

Public comment on the proposed rule is open until June 19, when the EEOC will publish final regulations.

The AWANE Wellness Rewards Program has been successful for many years in keeping employees healthy, productive, and at work.

AWANE offers a custom tailored solution including incentives for:

  • Complete an Online Health Risk Assessment
  • Participate in a Maternity Program
  • Manage Chronic Conditions
  • Age – appropriate examinations and testing
  • Weight Loss

Employee health is one of the most important parts to running a successful business. As AWANE continues to grow, so does our power in numbers. Our best in class employee benefit programs are put together exclusively for businesses in the automotive, roads, and fuel industry. Please contact us today to learn more about our great programs.

Here's the EEOC statement.