On Thursday, June 11th, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) met to consider new proposed rules on incentives employers may lawfully offer within wellness plans to encourage employee participation.
The focus was primarily on wellness programs that require disclosure of medical information, and how program incentives can happen without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A large amount of employers use this guideline to see how much of a health insurance discount they can give to employees if they meet certain criteria.
The Commission voted 2-1 to approve a proposed ruling that employers can tie up to 30% of the total cost of health plan premium to wellness incentives if the employee is on the employer's health plan. Also, for wellness plans that include employees who are NOT on the employer-sponsored health plan, the new rules limit incentives to “no more than de minimis incentives". This response coming from the 2017 decision (yes, it's been that long) is one that falls a little more in line with the HIPAA wellness rules, the Affordable Care Act and the ADA safe harbor.
For us at CoCulture, these actions still fall in line with what we've been saying all along - to focus more on having a culture that supports these actions rather than the carrot or stick philosophy. We know forcing people to change doesn't work, and while incentives can drive change, there's not much need to go so high as the 30%. Not to mention, when you have employees that potentially can't afford the health insurance, what are you doing to support them? You need to focus on holistic change and remembering to include as many employees as possible in your efforts.
There are so many options on how to do this and focus on promoting taking positive steps and action towards your wellbeing are things that should be celebrated, appreciated, communicated, and if you feel inclined - incentivized. Hopefully you are covered, but many employers are going to need to change their approach. If you want to discuss with a professional - be sure to visit our Contact Us page and we can talk you through it for free. We just want you to enable your employees to thrive!