Adopting the HIPAA standard will go a very long way to alleviate the existing confusion and concerns regarding potential additional regulatory hurdles for worksite wellness programs.
Washington, DC (PRWEB) May 25, 2013
The Care Continuum Alliance, the voice of the population health and wellness industry, submitted comments in response to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) public meeting on “Wellness Programs under Federal EEOC Laws,” and strongly encouraged the adoption of the HIPAA 5-prong standard.
“This is a very timely discussion given the significant movement around wellness incentives in regulatory and legislative arenas," said Victoria Shapiro, CCA Government Affairs Director. “It is of great relevance to our membership as well as the population health industry.”
CCA paid particular attention to the discussion around the voluntary nature of the workplace wellness programs, and focused its comments on encouraging the adoption of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards as the appropriate metric for evaluating what constitutes voluntary in this context.
CCA’s comments said, “The HIPAA five-prong test states that wellness programs offering rewards based on achieving a particular health status are voluntary if: (1) the reward does not exceed 30 percent of the cost of the individual’s health coverage or 50 percent in relation to tobacco; (2) the program is reasonably designed to promote health or prevent disease; (3) individuals have the opportunity to qualify for the reward at least once annually; (4) the reward is available to all similarly situated individuals; and (5) disclosure of a reasonable alternative standard if the terms of the program are described.”
CCA also reinforced the value of wellness programs and incentives in an attached current literature analysis. “The literature shows that incentives can facilitate behavior change to increase patient engagement in wellness programs. It also positively indicates that appropriate incentive and wellness program design can produce cost savings for employers. Finally, the literature reinforces that the value of incentives in wellness programs extends beyond direct healthcare cost savings. As one component of an organizational culture of health, incentives in wellness programs can produce additional positive outcomes such as workforce productivity,” said the statement.
“On behalf of our members and the industry, CCA encourages EEOC to adopt the HIPAA standard and to issue clear guidance to employers about it,” said Fred Goldstein, CCA interim Executive Director. “This will go a very long way to alleviate the existing confusion and concerns regarding potential additional regulatory hurdles for worksite wellness programs.”