Final wellness programs rule published

May 31, 2013
Reported by NBCH. Yesterday HHS and the Department of Labor and the Department of Treasury published the long awaited final ruleof requirements for workplace wellness programs, allowing employers to require healthy efforts from employees to qualify for lower premiums.
The final regulations, consistent with the Affordable Care Act, focus on nondiscriminatory wellness programs in group health coverage. Specifically, these final regulations increase the maximum permissible reward under a health-contingent wellness program offered in connection with a group health plan (and any related health insurance coverage) from 20 percent to 30 percent of the cost of coverage. The final regulations further increase the maximum permissible reward to 50 percent for wellness programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use. These regulations also include other clarifications regarding the reasonable design of health-contingent wellness programs and the reasonable alternatives they must offer in order to avoid prohibited discrimination.
The rule will apply to large employer-sponsored coverage starting next year and most businesses should not have to make more than minor tweaks to existing wellness programs to comply with the new rules.

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