The Affordable Care Act has brought a lot of uncertainty to the benefits industry. Also raising questions: wellness programs. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is questioning whether many wellness plans are truly voluntary. But, the EEOC has not issued any compliance guidelines to remedy the situation and benefits professionals are uncertain what to do going forward.
Employees continue to ask for wellness benefits from their employers. This week I’ve been reading about the future of wellness programs. Here are some of the most helpful articles I’ve read:
EEOC's Strange War Against ObamaCare And Employer Wellness Plans. Forbes: “The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission does not like employer wellness plans, even when those plans comply fully with President Obama’s most significant domestic policy achievement, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ‘ObamaCare.’ According to the Commission, when it comes to wellness plans, the Affordable Care Act and regulations passed by the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury are invalid.”
EEOC’s Silence on Wellness Programs Criticized. SHRM: “The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) should not sue employers over supposedly involuntary wellness programs when the agency has not defined voluntary programs, according to Eric Dreiband, an attorney with Jones Day in Washington, D.C.”
Employees want wellness incentives, despite regulatory uncertainty. Employee Benefit News: “As calls for the EEOC to issue guidance on wellness programs continue, employees are on board with their employers’ involvement in health and wellness programs. The majority of consumers (71%) say they want help from their companies in the form of programs and guidelines for health management, according to a HealthMine survey of 562 consumers with company-sponsored health plans.”