Human Resources
EEOC Issues Proposed Wellness Program Rules

EEOC Issues Proposed Wellness Program Rules


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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its much-anticipated proposed regulations addressing employer wellness programs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on April 16, 2015. These proposed regulations specifically address how employers may use and administer wellness program tools such as Health Risk Questionnaires (HRQs) and biometric screens that are permissible under the wellness rules under the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), but had been questionable under the ADA.

These proposed regulations address when such programs are voluntary and therefore do not violate the ADA. They specifically address the following:

  • Rewards or penalties are limited to 30% of the total cost of employee-only coverage;
  • “Gating” or limiting benefits or options for employees who do not participate in an employee health program (wellness program), including an HRQ or biometric screen, are prohibited;
  • Notice and confidentiality requirements apply with respect to the medical information obtained as part of these programs;
  • Clarifies when smoking cessation programs are subject to these requirements; and
  • Underscores that compliance with the EEOC rules concerning voluntary wellness programs does not ensure compliance with other antidiscrimination laws enforced by the EEOC.

EEOC Issues Proposed Wellness Program Rules