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Guidance on employee wellness programs

Posted on August 9th, 2013 Read time: 1 minutes

The Affordable Care Act will change the regulations for employee wellness programs as well as impact employee benefits administration. Human resources professionals should know the new rules before the law begins to be enforced. There are two types of wellness program, each with its own advantages and requirements.

The first type is participation-based. Programs of this kind offer activities to workers that are completely optional. Those who participate qualify for rewards on the basis of that participation alone rather than health outcomes. This may include a company weight-loss club or reimbursements for membership at a gym. Voluntary programs may be easier to manage in compliance with regulations, as the requirements are easier to remember and put into action.

Outcome-based programs, on the other hand, provide rewards to employees when they meet certain goals. This may be reaching a particular BMI, exercising a certain amount or stopping tobacco use. In this case, rewards are given based on these outcomes. Employees who for health reasons cannot participate in the program must be given alternatives. Doctors can collaborate with workers to make different goals that are best for them.

Human resources professionals should pay attention to these new regulations, and to the wellness of all of their companies' employees. Whether permanent or temporary workers, healthy employees are more productive.

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