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New Affordable Care Act FAQs: Employer Wellness Programs

The U.S. Departments of Labor (?Ç£DOL?Ç¥), Health and Human Services, and the Treasury issued a new set of Frequently Asked Questions (?Ç£FAQs?Ç¥) that, among other things, provides examples of when a health-contingent wellness program would not be ?Ç£reasonably designed?Ç¥ as required by the Affordable Care Act. Examples of unreasonable plan designs include programs designed to discourage enrollment by individuals who are sick or may have high claims experience, programs that require unreasonable time commitments or travel, and outcome-based programs that do not provide a reasonable alternative to individuals who do not initially meet the relevant standard based on a health condition. The FAQs also clarify that compliance with the Affordable Care Act?ÇÖs wellness program requirements does not ensure compliance with other laws, such as the ADA. The FAQs can be found here.

EEOC Issues Proposed Regulations on Wellness Programs and the ADA

On April 16, 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the ?Ç£EEOC?Ç¥) issued proposed regulations applying Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ?Ç£ADA?Ç¥) to employer wellness programs offered through a group health plan. The proposed regulations clarify that, under the ADA, wellness programs that collect employees?ÇÖ medical information or require them to undergo medical examinations must be reasonably likely to promote health or prevent disease. Moreover, employees may not be forced to participate in the program or be denied coverage if they refuse to participate. In addition, employers will be required to provide employees with a notice describing what medical information will be collected as well as how it will be used and protected. The proposed regulations can be found here.?á A fact sheet for small businesses can be found here.?á A question and answer document can be found here.

April 2015