Employee Wellness Programs under the Affordable Care Act
Do you provide a Wellness Program for your Arizona employees? It might be a good idea to do so, and with the new provisions under the Affordable Care Act, employees might have more of an incentive to participate. Teach them as to What Constitutes A Personal Injury Claim? So that they file no wrongful claims towards the company which can not only get the company into trouble but can also cost the employee their job and also also ensure to teach them each aspect of the Employee Wellness Programs.
Promoting the health and wellness of your employees can contribute to a successful AZ business. Healthier people work harder, are happier, help others, and are more efficient.
According to Corporate Wellness Magazine, every $1 invested in employee wellness programs yields roughly $4 in savings through reduced sick days, higher productivity and decreased overall health costs.
There are benefits for employees as well. Employees can save on their health insurance premiums by up to 20% this year, and in 2014 with the new Affordable Care Act, employers may increase this up to as much as 30%. So what’s the catch? The employee will need to participate in their employer’s wellness program.
What are the Rules?
This will depend on the type of wellness program. There are two broad categories of wellness programs: (participatory wellness programs) (for example, gym membership reimbursements, diagnostic testing that rewards participation but does not base any part of the reward on the outcome, and rewards for attending no-cost health education seminars), and (health-contingent wellness programs) (these require an individual to satisfy a standard related to a health factor in order to obtain a reward).
For participatory wellness programs, there is very little regulation under the ACA, only that they must be available “to all similarly situated individuals regardless of health status.”
For health contingent wellness programs however, Federal law generally prohibits plans from charging different premiums to different employees based on a health factor. However, there is an exception for “bona fide wellness” programs. These programs allow an employer to vary premiums up to 20% based on a health factor (such as cholesterol level, weight, smoking) but only if the employer offers a reasonable alternative to those for whom it is unreasonably difficult to meet the standard.
For example, let’s say the standard is a cholesterol count of 200. If an employee is below 200, he gets the better premium. This is okay so long as the employer offers an alternative standard to employees who are above 200 – such as taking a cholesterol drug, or attending nutrition classes.
Additionally, the wellness program must be reasonably designed to promote health or prevent disease. A wellness program is reasonably designed if it is not overly burdensome, is based on a health factor, and is based on rewards not punishment.
This basic overview of the types of wellness programs and the general rules to them is provided to illustrate the benefits to employers, and the added benefits to employees beginning in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. If you would like to begin a wellness program for your employees, the Arizona attorneys at Gunderson, Denton and Peterson can help assure that your program complies with federal regulations.
Written By Brad Denton – Gunderson, Denton & Peterson, P.C.
Mesa Office: 1930 N Arboleda #201
Mesa, Arizona 85213
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