Final EEOC Rule Sets Limits For Financial Incentives On Wellness Programs

(By Julie Appleby for Kaiser Health News)

Employer wellness programs can gather medical information from employees and spouses — so long as financial incentives or penalties don’t exceed 30 percent of the annual cost for an individual in the company’s group health plan, according to final rules issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Monday.

Although such penalties or incentives could run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, the programs are considered voluntary — and therefore legal, the commission said.

The rules seek to ensure “wellness programs actually promote good health and are not just used to collect or sell sensitive medical information about employees and family members or to impermissibly shift health insurance costs to them,” the EEOC said.
But the final rules drew immediate concern from some groups.

Jennifer Mathis, director of programs for the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, says the new rule rolls back protections in existing law. Read article here….

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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