Wednesday, May 18, 2016

EEOC Issues Final Rules on Employer Wellness Programs - SHRM

by Stephen Miller 
Originally published: May 17, 2016

The rules clarify limits on financial incentives to spur participation in voluntary program 

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued new final rules that describe how employer-provided wellness programs can comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

The two rules, published in the Federal Register on May 17, also address how ADA- and GINA-compliant wellness programs can stay consistent with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as amended by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The EEOC also posted question-and-answer documents that address the ADA rule and the GINA rule, and fact sheets for small businesses regarding the ADA rule and the GINA rule.

The final rules, which will go into effect in January 2017, apply to all workplace wellness programs, including those in which employees or their family members may participate without also enrolling in a particular health plan.

“All in all, the rules are very much in line with what the EEOC proposed last year,” said Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit association of large U.S. employers. “While we may have hoped for some additional flexibility, the rules do what the EEOC was asked to do—clarify for employers where their wellness plan incentives stand with respect to ADA and GINA compliance.”