Posts Tagged ‘employer wellness programs’

EEOC Proposes Incentives for Employees Whose Spouses Reveal Information on Health Status

Employers would be allowed to offer up to 30 percent off on the cost of their group health plan for employees whose spouses disclose information about their current or past health status as part of a wellness program, under rules proposed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today.

The proposal implements a provision of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which in general prohibits employers covered by the law from using genetic information in making decisions about employment. It also restricts employers from requesting, requiring, or purchasing genetic information, unless one or more of six narrow exceptions applies.

Under one of those exceptions,  an employee voluntarily accepts health or genetic services offered by an employer, including such services offered as part of a wellness program. In that case the employer can offer a financial incentive, including a discount on the cost of the insurance in the group health plan.

“Genetic information” includes, among other things, information about the “manifestation of a disease or disorder in family members of an individual.” The term “family members” includes spouses.

The limited incentive may take the form of a reward or penalty and may be financial or in-kind (e.g., time-off awards, prizes, or other items of value), according to the proposed rule.

The total incentive for an employee and spouse to participate in a wellness program that is part of a group health plan and collects information about current or past health status may not exceed 30 percent of the total cost of the plan in which the employee and any dependents are enrolled. For self-only coverage under the group health plan, the maximum portion of an incentive that may be offered to an employee alone may not exceed 30 percent of the total cost of self-only coverage.

The EEOC is accepting public comment on the rule through December 29.

To read the proposed rule, go here.

You can find EEOC’s announcement of the proposed rule here.