As you may recall, the AARP sued the EEOC over their May 2016 rules under ADA and GINA stating that a wellness program would still be voluntary if a reward for providing employee health information did not exceed 30% of the total cost of self-only coverage. The AARP won that lawsuit, and now, as of 12/20/17, the District Court has “vacated” those incentive rules and asked the EEOC to go back to the drawing board. What does this mean for you? For 2018, the current rules will still apply (i.e., rewards for filling out HRAs or biometric screens can still be up to 30% of the total cost of self-only coverage). But, for the 2019 plan year, wellness programs will need to adjust incentives downward. How much downward? That remains to be seen. We may have a hint of that later in 2018. The court ordered the EEOC to file a status report of its review of the rules by March 30, 2018, and to issue any notice of proposed rule making by 8/31/2018. Stay tuned. The Center for Health and Wellness Law, LLC will keep you apprised of any developments. Here is a link to the 12/20/17 order: http://files.constantcontact.com/ed094ccc201/b9efd47f-083c-4781-998c-c6073f35aa07.pdf.
About the Author
Barbara is lead author of the book Rule the Rules on Workplace Wellness Programs, published by the American Bar Association. She is a frequent writer and speaker on health and wellness law topics, having presented for national organizations such as WELCOA, National Wellness Institute, HPLive, Healthstat University and HERO. Barbara J. Zabawa is a Clinical Assistant Professor for the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee College of Health Sciences, Department of Health Services Administration where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in health law and compliance, US health care delivery and health professions career development. Barbara also owns the Center for Health and Wellness Law, LLC a law firm dedicated to improving legal access and compliance for the health and wellness industries. Before graduating with honors from the University of Wisconsin Law School, she obtained an MPH degree from the University of Michigan. Immediately prior to starting her own firm, she was Associate General Counsel and HIPAA Privacy Officer for a large health insurer where she advised on Affordable Care Act matters. She was also a shareholder and Health Law Team Leader at a large Wisconsin law firm. Barbara serves health and wellness professionals and organizations across the country as an advocate, a transactional lawyer and a compliance resource. Her commitment to improving health and wellness also shows through her community service. Barbara founded the Wellness Compliance Institute, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve wellness program and activity compliance. She also is a Board Member for the Rogers Memorial Hospital Foundation, a health care organization that specializes in treating mental illness and she chairs the State Bar of Wisconsin Health Law Section. Barbara is licensed to practice law in both Wisconsin and New York.