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News & Press: SAHRA Blog

New Blog Post -Wellness Plan Compliance Changes and Strategies

Friday, February 8, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Samantha Tyler

As HR professionals are no doubt aware, the EEOC’s rule limiting incentives and penalties to 30% of group health plan premiums for wellness programs subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) ended January 1, 2019.

What does this mean for wellness plan compliance? recommends using this as an opportunity to retool your wellness program and offers up these suggestions to get you started.*


1. Consider reducing incentives below 30%.

This will avoid your program being considered ‘coercive’. In addition to your incentives structure, you may need to reevaluate which actions qualify to receive rewards.


2. Place greater emphasis on intrinsic incentives that reward participation.

Look at ways to build a culture, improve employee engagement, and create a sustainable well-being environment that is inclusive.

Encourage programs that rely on non-financial, “intrinsic” incentives such as contests and challenges supported by nominal rewards, non-monetary recognition or charitable contributions.


3. Shift to participation-based rewards rather than outcomes-based rewards.

Some well-being challenges that focus on getting consistent sleep or managing stress could be more attractive than other challenges based on reaching a specific outcome, such as number of steps or minutes of activity per day.

Reward participation in webinars or attendance at employee education for such topics as nutrition, financial well being and resilience.


4. Move to participation-only programs.

For example, reward employees for completing a biometric screening rather than requiring them to record in-range screening results. Or, reward any participation in a steps challenge instead of logging a minimum number of steps.


Alternately you could opt out of having a wellness incentive program altogether.

Wellness programs that aren’t subject to the ADA and GINA are the only ones affected by the ruling. Programs that only fall under HIPAA and the ACA are not affected.


*From Following suggestions are no substitute for independent legal advice specifically tailored to your situation.



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