As a result of health care reform, sponsors of wellness programs are now subject to the same privacy guidelines that used to apply only to insurers and providers. The problem is that many employers are not aware of how this will impact an existing program and what they will need to do to comply. Perhaps we can shed some light on this.
In order to comply with new requirements, a plan sponsor must be able to prove that a wellness program…
- Is reasonably designed to promote health or prevent disease
- Has a reasonable chance of improving the health of participating individuals
- Is not overly burdensome or deceptively discriminatory based on any health factor
- Is not highly suspect in the method chosen to promote health
While these restrictions are designed to encourage better outcomes, they are also intended to change the way employers look at issues like privacy and fairness.
This will challenge programs that have long provided rewards or premium subsidies for achieving certain wellness goals. One example might be a walk or run that may have to be supplemented with an alternative for those with a physical disability. Rewarding employees for losing weight without pressuring them to share sensitive information can be another concern. For help with compliance, talk to us or ask your wellness provider.
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In cooperation with NAEBA