The Obama administration is finally giving employers the rules of the road for structuring wellness programs that won't violate health privacy and discrimination regulations, nearly a year after first proposing them.
"We now have rules. And I think it's very important to underscore that," said Kathryn Wilber, American Benefits Council senior counsel for health policy. "Employers want certainty. They want to be able to offer plans to employees and not worry about being out of compliance."
The new guidelines offer a balance between employers' efforts to reward workers for improving their health, and regulations that protect health privacy, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, said Jenny R. Yang, chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They also prevent discrimination based on health conditions, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, she said.