March 21, 2014

Does your wellness program follow ACA guidelines?

As the spring weather draws more and more people outdoors, we can expect to see more gym memberships dusted off and outdoor activity picked up in anticipation of healthy summer living. To this extent, businesses will likely see more action on the parts of their employees, something that is encouraged by many employers through the implementation of wellness programs in the workplace.

As you prepare to kick-off your wellness program this spring, it is important that you take a few things into account. Namely, business owners must ask themselves: “Is our wellness program ACA-compliant?”

To answer this, we must consider the ways that the Affordable Care Act categorizes these programs. Under the ACA regulations, there are two types of platforms:
  1. Participatory: This is centered solely on employee participation, not a specific outcome. Rewards can be offered to encourage employees to participate, such as reimbursing workers for the cost of a monthly gym membership. 
  2. Health-contingent: This platform requires the employee to meet a specific goal in order to obtain a reward. Subcategories include “activity only” (an example of this is walking 30 minutes a day) or “outcome based” (like achieving and maintaining normal range for blood pressure). 
Wellness programs are a great way to get employees motivated and aware of their current benefits. Implementing these plans within your organization is an ideal way to improve employee health and well-being, as well as to exert some control over future health care costs.

Below, we have outlined the different classifications of wellness programs. You want to be sure to align your program with this structure, to ensure that it is ACA-compliant.

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