EEOC Finalizes Wellness Plan Rules to Align with HIPAA and ACA
Many employers offer wellness programs in order to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent diseases. Federal agencies focused on employee rights and those focused on healthy lifestyles have not always agreed when it comes to wellness programs. This has created inconsistency and confusion for employers. On Tuesday, May 17, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued final rules: (1) providing guidance on the extent to which employers may use incentives to encourage employees to participate in wellness programs; and (2) adding confidentiality requirements applicable to health information provided by employees and their spouses by virtue of their participation in wellness programs. The final rules, which will go into effect January 1, 2017, apply to all workplace wellness programs and essentially eliminate some of the inconsistencies by aligning with prior wellness program guidance provided under HIPAA and the Affordable Care Act. The following is a link to the final rule.