The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a Noticed of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) addressing Title ! of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its application to employer wellness programs. The NPRM provides guidance for employers trying to navigate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and its modifications by the Affordable Care Act.
What the NPRM Means for Your Business
With wellness programs becoming increasingly common in the workplace, many employers are offering incentives to employees who participate in health-risk assessment questionnaires or who participate in biometric screening programs. The ADA generally prohibits collecting employee medical information, but wellness programs are allowed if they are part of a voluntary employee health program.
The EEOC filed three major lawsuits against employers who allegedly failed to fit within the exception. The EEOC’s NPRM outlines five key requirements for a compliant wellness program.
How to Stay Compliant Highlights
- Employer wellness programs must be voluntary. Employers may not require employs to participate, nor are they allowed to deny or limit insurance based on an employee’s participation in the wellness program.
- An employee wellness program must be reasonably designed so that it helps prevent disease or promote health. The EEOC considers programs that collect information to provide employees with feedback about their health or programs that use aggregate data to create programs targeting specific medical conditions to be reasonable.
- Employers are allowed to offer employees incentives for valid wellness program participation for achieving health goals, but those incentives may not exceed 30 percent of the total cost of employee-only healthcare coverage. Employers may asses a penalty for not participating in in a wellness program, but the penalty may not be more than the same 30 percent.
Employee wellness programs can be a great way to ensure that employees stay happy and healthy. Test Smartly’s certified wellness experts are up to date on all of the current EEOC regulations and HIPAA laws.