Wellness Incentives are the Affordable Care Act’s Carrot and the Stick

Posted by:

Wellness programs are not new.  We all know that unhealthy employees are less productive, cost more, and have great absenteeism.  The Affordable Care Act changes the wellness landscape by allowing employers to increase penalties to 30% of the cost of a single premium, and 50% if the employee uses tobacco.

These increased penalties allow employers to lessen the “sticker shock” of costlier health benefits for their employees while incenting a healthier and more productive workplace.  However, charging an employee up to 50% more for health insurance increases the likelihood that an employee will start to ask questions.

Employers can’t be so focused on maximizing the return on their wellness investment, that they forget to ensure their plan is compliant with all the laws governing wellness programs.

  • Do you require employees to complete a health risk assessment in order to qualify for a reward?
  • Do you require a blood draw as a condition for eligibility in the health plan?  Ask an employee to pass tests that are not job related?
  • Does your wellness plan require an employee to achieve a certain health standard to obtain a reward?

If so, your wellness plan may expose your organization to claims under the American’s with Disabilities Act, GINA, HIPAA, and the Affordable Care Act.

If your organization plans to utilize increased wellness incentives, now is the time to get your wellness plan current.  Mueller QAAS has the expertise to ensure your wellness plan is compliant while it improves employees’ health.

0