New WI Law Gives Wellness Grants to Small Employers

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The Healthy Jobs Act sailed through the Wisconsin legislature in March to provide grants to small employers to offset up to 30% of their annual wellness program expenses.  Employers with 50 or less full-time employees will be eligible for a portion of this $3 million a year grant program to be administered by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

To be eligible for the grant, the wellness program must provide a health risk assessment, biometric screening, and one or more of the following

  • disease management
  • weight management
  • stress management
  • injury prevention, and
  • nutrition education.

The wellness program must be in effect on or after the legislation’s effective date.  Thus, only employers new to wellness can qualify for the grant.  The program expires in 2018, but is seen to be a first step in encouraging small employers to try wellness programs to manage the costs associated with employees’ chronic diseases.