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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

EEOC Issues Preliminary Ruling on Wellness Programs

We've blogged since last year about several lawsuits that have led the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to clarify the rules governing wellness programs. By now, most of us are now familiar with the HIPAA-based rules that came into effect at the beginning of last year, but the situation is still evolving.

As the Wall Street Journal explained last week, current rules cap penalties for outcomes-based programs at 30% (or 50% for tobacco use). The EEOC proposes applying the same limits to participation-based wellness programs. Comments from the public are being accepted until June 19, after which a final ruling will be made.

Although we're monitoring the situation very carefully, I'm hopeful that the EEOC's final decision will add clarity. After all, no one wants to run afoul of the law. The more guidance the relevant agencies can provide, the better for everyone -- employers and wellness providers alike.

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