Health Insurance Exchanges Could Affect Wellness Programs, Experts Say

April 17, 2013

According to Employee Benefit News, wellness programs could be affected if companies send employees to health insurance exchanges - either public or private - and decide wellness is not their responsibility, or if employees are less engaged. Experts say smaller companies may be most likely to move employees to the exchanges, which could mean they have less access to health data that influence wellness investments and incentives. Employers may lose the ability to work with wellness vendors while developing wellness and health promotion incentives if employees receive coverage through a public or private exchange.

At the same time, a provision in the ACA provides for some stronger incentives for employees who achieve improved health outcomes. This sets up a confusing set of circumstances for employers looking to control health care costs. Employers believe they need a healthy and productive workforce to have an edge in a global economy. But the ACA can have the effect of setting up some competing incentives, and an employer will have to carefully consider its alternatives, taking into account its size, industry, and culture.

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