Keep Your 2019 Wellness Strategy on Track

Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: June 25, 2018

Solutions Following the Latest EEOC Wellness Incentive Update

Employers with wellness programs that are subject to the Americans with Disabilities ACT (ADA) or Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), and therefore, fall under EEOC wellness incentive regulations, may feel in limbo after a recent change in direction.

In January, we posted about recent impacts to wellness program incentives that explained requirements and time limits affecting employer-sponsored wellness programs as a result of December 2017 rulings by the judge in the AARP v. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case. At that time, the court’s decision did two things:

  1. Invalidated the EEOC’s incentive limits for employer wellness programs (set to go into effect January 1, 2019)
  2. Ordered the EEOC to propose new rules by August 31, 2018

In a turnabout action, the EEOC, in March, filed a report that said, “The agency has no plans to issue new wellness regulations by a specified date as instructed by the court.” It further stated that the EEOC may wait for confirmation of the new commissioners nominated by President Trump before taking action. Even once commissioners are selected and confirmed, the final rules have to be written and approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

While this might be confusing, it doesn’t have to derail 2019 wellness planning for employers.

If wellness programs contain EEOC-sensitive elements such as an annual physical, health risk assessment, or biometric screening, BeneFIT recommends employers consider adding other non-EEOC-sensitive elements to their programs so they can move forward. Here are a few examples:

  • Health coaching: Suitable for all employers regardless of company size, industry, budget, or location. BeneFIT customizes programs based on the needs of the employer and the individual employee population.
  • Challenges: Help participants motivate, encourage, and challenge each other to meet health goals and earn rewards. Individual challenges let employees go at their own pace, while team challenges bring employees together to reach common milestones.
  • Self-Management Tools: Action Plans can be customized specifically to meet the needs of your employees and the vision of your company, and access to the BeneFIT portal is easy from a tablet, smart phone, or PC.

We expect more news on the wellness incentive rulings as the presidential EEOC nomination process evolves. The BeneFIT Corporate Wellness team will continue to monitor this story and provide updates. In the interim, we encourage all employers to consult their insurance broker or legal advisor to ensure incentive rewards are offered lawfully in accordance with EEOC regulations. Refer to the EEOC website for final 2016 ruling.

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