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Saturday, February 16, 2008

HIPAA and Wellness for HR leaders

An article about HIPAA and wellness in Human Resources Executive Online does a good job of explaining the mess over HIPAA guidelines about wellness programs.

One interesting point: accommodating the new federal guidelines on HIPAA and wellness is likely to lead to higher administrative costs in HR and company insurance departments:

Under the new guidelines, for example. . .if you want to launch a wellness program based on body mass index, it would be unreasonable to expect an employee to lose 100 pounds in a month. But as an alternative, over the course of a year, if they lose 20 pounds, that can be the incentive for lower deductible costs.

The upshot is, employers using discount programs will have to accommodate certain people -- give them alternative ways to earn credits -- and that means higher administrative costs.

If you plan to check out the full text of the Department of Labor's HIPAA/wellness guidance document, you might want to get a copy of coffee before you sit down to read it.

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