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Thursday, December 27, 2007

HIPAA Ruling Affects Wellness Incentives

News Item of the Day:

New Federal guidance on HIPAA rules may affect employers who want to provide incentives to employees who stay healthy.

An employer who offers an HDHP (high deductible health plan) might not be able to offer to pay part of the deductible for employees who (for example) who have favorable blood pressure and cholesterol readings or who don't use tobacco.

These wellness programs may run afoul of HIPAA rules that prohibit discrimination based on health, and by exceeding the size of heath incentives permitted by the law.

The guidance is unclear and the meaning in dispute in the HR community. Learn more in this Financial Times article on HDHP's and HIPAA.

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