Francis P. Alvarez & Joseph J. Lazzarotti on Workplace Wellness Programs Standards

Francis P. Alvarez & Joseph J. Lazzarotti on Workplace Wellness Programs Standards

Francis P. Alvarez and Joseph J. Lazzarotti of Jacson and Lewis, LLP, highlight three areas under the HIPAA nondiscrimnation regulations that are particularly important to the design and administration of covered wellness programs and provide practical insight to employers about how to comply with these standards.

As employers attempt to control the cost of employee health care benefits, they increasingly are offering financial incentives for health promotion and disease prevention programs (commonly referred to as wellness programs). These incentives typically take the form of premium discounts or other cost-sharing rewards. Employers hope these programs will encourage employees to improve their health, in turn reducing the risk of disease and ultimately reducing medical care costs and time off.

However, these efforts are complicated by a conflicting web of federal and state laws. Designing a wellness program to satisfy these requirements is a challenge for practitioners and plan sponsors alike. While a careful practitioner needs to be familiar with the full range of issues affecting wellness programs, this commentary highlights three areas under the HIPAA nondiscrimination regulations that are particularly important to the design and administration of covered wellness programs.

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