Coming Soon- Obama Administration’s Health Care Law Rules

Obama administration continues moving forward to implement health care law by releasing final rules on employment-based wellness programs

WASHINGTON — The U.S.  Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury today issued  final rules on employment-based wellness programs. The final rules support  workplace health promotion and prevention as a means to reduce the burden of  chronic illness, improve health and limit growth of health care costs, while  ensuring that individuals are protected from unfair underwriting practices that  could otherwise reduce benefits based on health status.

The final rules  continue to support participatory wellness programs, which generally are  available without regard to an individual’s health status. These include  programs that reimburse for the cost of membership in a fitness center; that  provide a reward to employees for attending a monthly, no-cost health education  seminar; or that reward employees who complete a health risk assessment,  without requiring them to take further action.

The rules also  outline standards for nondiscriminatory health-contingent wellness programs,  which generally reward individuals who meet a specific standard related to  their health. Examples of health-contingent wellness programs include programs  that provide a reward to those who do not use, or decrease their use of,  tobacco, or programs that reward those who achieve a specified health-related  goal, such as a specified cholesterol level, weight, or body mass index, as  well as those who fail to meet such goals but take certain other healthy  actions.

Today’s final  rules ensure flexibility for employers by increasing the maximum reward that  may be offered under appropriately designed wellness programs, including  outcome-based programs. The final rules also protect consumers by requiring  that health-contingent wellness programs be reasonably designed, are uniformly  available to all similarly situated individuals and accommodate recommendations  made at any time by an individual’s physician, based on medical  appropriateness.

The final rules  will be effective for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014.

Employee Rights Law Firm Proudly Serving Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Santa Maria, Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande & Pismo. © 2018 Adams Law, Santa Barbara, California