Does healthcare reform impact the wellness program incentives I offer my employees?

You can now offer more incentives for your employees to participate in wellness programs. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), employers couldn’t offer more than 20 percent of the cost of employee-only coverage as a reward for wellness programs. In 2014, under federal healthcare reform, that reward increases to 30 percent of the cost of employer and employee contributions (and up to 50 percent for programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use). If an employee can’t meet the healthy standard established by the program because of a medical issue, the employer must provide a reasonable alternative way for the employee to meet the requirement.

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