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Entries in Wellness Programs (9)

Tuesday
May012018

Wellness Programs: Where are we now?

Wellness programs are governed by overlapping and, at times, maddeningly inconsistent regulations and agency guidance.  Litigation challenging the wellness program rules issued by the EEOC in 2016 has added another layer of complexity for employers attempting to design and administer wellness programs in compliance with applicable law.  Nevertheless, wellness programs remain extremely popular among employers of all sizes and across all industry groups.  Below is a brief overview of the current state of the law governing wellness plans and a few practical recommendations to employers for navigating the evolving regulatory environment. 

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Wednesday
May252016

EEOC Doubles Down: Final Wellness Program Rules Under ADA and GINA – Part II

Last week the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued final rules for wellness programs under both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (the “Final ADA Rule”) and the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) (the “Final GINA Rule”). 

Part I of this two-part series addressed the Final ADA Rule.  In Part II we discuss the Final GINA Rule.  Like the Final ADA Rule, the Final GINA Rule is generally consistent with the proposed rule published by the EEOC in October 2015.  The Final GINA Rule simply clarifies the type of information regulated by the rule and the level of financial incentives that may be offered by an employer in exchange for certain health information about an employee’s spouse and children. 

 

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Friday
May202016

EEOC Doubles Down: Final Wellness Program Rules Under ADA and GINA – Part I

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued final rules for wellness programs under both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (the “Final ADA Rule”) and the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) (the “Final GINA Rule”).  The release is accompanied by Frequently Asked Questions posted to the EEOC website, as well as interpretive guidance discussing the Final ADA Rule.  Employers must comply with both sets of rules as of the first group health plan year that begins on or after January 1, 2017.  Despite a torrent of highly critical comments submitted during the comment period and ongoing litigation surrounding the EEOC’s interpretation of the limits imposed on wellness programs by the ADA and GINA, the final rules differ very little from the proposed rules and continue to depart in significant ways from the final regulations issued by the Department of Labor, Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Health and Human Service under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (the “Final HIPAA Regulations”).  In this two part series, we discuss the differences between the proposed and final versions of each rule and highlight changes that may be required to existing wellness programs.  Part I concerns the Final ADA Rule.

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Thursday
Jan142016

Client Advisory - Winter 2016

This Client Advisory highlights certain developments regarding the Affordable Care Act (most significantly, the delay of the ACA reporting requirements and the “Cadillac” tax), discusses the EEOC’s proposed rules for wellness programs and the outcome of recent EEOC wellness program litigation, reviews important cases recently decided by and pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, and provides updates regarding church plan litigation and the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciary rule.  We also offer thoughts about what employers can expect to see in 2016 in the way of agency enforcement activities.  Since 2016 is a presidential election year, few observers expect to see much, if any, significant legislation enacted by Congress.  But regulatory agencies, entering the final year of the Obama administration, may be more active and productive in 2016.

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Monday
Jul132015

2015 Mid-Year Client Advisory

At this time of year many employers finalize welfare plan designs for 2016 and gear up for open enrollment.  And this summer, many employers are in the process of reviewing updated pre-approved defined contribution plan documents provided by their record keeping firms.  With those efforts in mind, this Client Alert is devoted to three benefit plan design and documentation topics driven by the recent release of EEOC proposed rules for wellness programs, recent cases that suggest ways to limit exposure to benefit claims through plan language, and best practices in reviewing pre-approved defined contribution plan documents. 

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