More and more employers are incorporating wellness programs into their plans each year. With the growing popularity of workplace wellness, comes the inevitable (you guessed it) government regulations. Are your wellness programs compliant with the ADA, the EEOC, ACA, and HIPAA? And who is this GINA? As planning for 2017 ramps up, now is a good time to ensure your organization is up to date on a few of the basics to ensure a compliant year in 2017.
Offering an HRA or screenings to your employees next year? The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) are butting in. If you’re collecting any sort of aggregate health data, then you need to tell employees – in layman’s terms – what information is being collected, how it’ll be used, who’ll receive it, and how it’ll be kept confidential. Shoot out an e-mail in January, just to be safe (see sample notice).
Is your program intended to promote wellness? Well, I’d hope so! If you’re requesting genetic info through an HRA, then your program must be reasonably intended to promote health. Essentially, you need to provide follow-up advice/information to employees after they complete the HRA. This service is usually provided through your carrier or wellness provider.
Planning to offer incentives? Make sure the incentive (whether it be a gift card, a Fitbit, or a day off) does not exceed 30% of the total cost of self-only coverage (including both employee and employer contributions) or 50% for non-smoking incentives.
Be inclusive and voluntary. Don’t leave anybody out. Providing reasonable accommodations or alternatives for employees with disabilities is a must. Also, participation in programs should be voluntary for employees. AKA – you can’t deny coverage for non-participation.
Now that you’ve got your feet wet, it’s time for the next step. Review your wellness program with legal counsel and your provider or consultant to ensure you’re prepared before implementing your 2017 wellness program come January.