Wellness incentive programs given the “go-ahead”

Incentizing wellness is a new tactic many companies are trying out to reduce costs. The Vitality Group has made a business consulting in this area, and other programs such as Blue Zones and Healthways are doing the same. Can you hire one of them to help you cut costs? You sure can, according to a Florida court.

– Eric

Court Finds Wellness Program Incentives not Illegal

(original source)

April 13, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit which alleged that financial incentives to participate in a voluntary wellness program as part of a health plan provided to employees violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Business Insurance reports that in Bradley Seff vs. Broward County, U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted summary judgment to Broward County, ruling that the wellness program falls under the safe harbor provision of the ADA and is based on insurance and risk management principles. “It is clear to this court that the wellness program is not a subterfuge; it was not designed to evade the purpose of the ADA,” wrote Moore, according to Business Insurance. “Rather, it is a valid term of a benefits plan that falls within the ambit of the ADA’s safe harbor provision.”

The news report said that in 2009, Broward County implemented a wellness program to address rising health care costs and its aging workforce, according to court documents. Under the program, employees were required to take a health assessment test and produce a blood sample to determine glucose and cholesterol levels.

The following year, the county decided to incentivize its workforce by applying a $20 surcharge per paycheck for individuals not participating in the wellness program.

Former employee Bradley Seff filed a class action complaint alleging that the county violated the ADA by requiring employees to undergo medical examinations and making medical inquiries about them. According to Business Insurance, Seff argued that the wellness program was implemented not to manage risks but to further a desire to keep employees healthy, court documents said. Rebecca Moore

About thebenefitblog

Eric is a Producer at Lockton Insurance Brokers, Inc., the world’s largest privately held commercial broker. Eric has over 23 years of experience in the insurance industry and has spent the last 11 years with Lockton. Eric specializes in Health & Welfare Benefits, Retirement Planning, and Executive Benefits. Eric's clients utilize his expertise in the areas of Plan Due Diligence, Transaction Structure, Fiduciary Oversight, Investment Design, Compliance and Vendor negotiation to improve the operational & financial outcome for each client. The Benefit Blog is a place to share that expertise and industry news.
This entry was posted in Group Life, Health, Health & Welfare, Health Reform, long term disability, News & Updates, Voluntary Benefits. Bookmark the permalink.

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