Thursday, May 30, 2013

New Wellness Regulations

See this story in the New York Times, which begins:
The Obama administration issued a final rule on Wednesday that gives employers greater leeway to use employee wellness programs, with financial rewards and penalties for workers worth up to 50 percent of the premium as an incentive to exercise, quit smoking, lose weight, eat more healthful food and lower cholesterol and blood pressure
Tens of millions of workers could be affected. More than 90 percent of employers with 200 or more employees have programs to promote healthful behavior or prevent disease, the Labor Department says. 
The rule allows employers to reward or penalize employees who meet specific standards related to their health. Such “outcome-based wellness programs” could, for example, reward employees who do not use tobacco or who achieve a specific cholesterol level, weight or body mass index. 
However, an employer-sponsored health plan must provide “a reasonable alternative standard” so that employees can qualify for rewards if they fail to meet the initial standard.
I'll have some analysis of the rule in the next week or so.



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