The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has posted a sample notice that will help employers who have wellness programs comply with their obligations under the recently issued Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rule, which requires employer wellness programs that (1) ask employees about their medical conditions or (2) ask employees to take medical examinations (such as tests to detect high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes) to ensure that:
- these programs are reasonably designed to promote health and prevent disease,
- they are voluntary, and
- employee medical information is kept confidential.
Under the rule, employees must receive a notice describing what information will be collected as part of the wellness program, who will receive it, how it will be used, and how it will be kept confidential.
The obligation to provide the notice goes into effect on the first day of the plan year that begins on or after January 1, 2017.
A brief question-and-answer document describing the notice requirement
The ADA rule
Background on the ADA rule:
Limited financial and other incentives are permitted as part of voluntary wellness programs under the rule. Permissible incentives under the rule are calculated based on a percentage of the cost of self-only health insurance coverage. However, employers may not:
- Require employees to participate in a wellness program;
- Deny or limit their health coverage for non-participation;
- Retaliate against or interfere with any employee who does not want to participate; and
- Coerce, threaten, intimidate or harass anyone into participating.