By Lauren Chana, Esq., Assistant Counsel, The Vitality Group
Yesterday the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a new rule with limits on how employers use financial penalties and rewards in employer wellness programs that are part of group health plans. The EEOC said employers can use financial incentives up to 30 percent of the cost of premiums for single coverage, as long as certain other safeguards are met. This will be published on April 20.
From Vitalitys perspective, not much has changed and the EEOC has put this out to begin the mandated timeframe for the public to voice comments and questions (they have until June 19). Once all the comments are received and reviewed the EEOC will then be required to publish responses and may even make adjustments to the rule.
Additionally at play is a law that has been proposed to Congress with a similar goal of clarifying how an employer may operate their wellness program, but specifically refutes the concept that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should be part of it, and rather if an employer is following the Affordable Care Act, they would be compliant.
Given that background, it is critical to keep a close eye on how both these proposals progress.
At this point, many clarifying rules and regulations are being proposed and Vitality is excited to continue to consult and strategize with its clients to ensure compliance and limit any confusion for our members. And, regardless of the proposal accepted, Vitality will be in full compliance with the law as proposed to Congress.