Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wellness programs struggle with the definition of voluntary

Does your employer offer a wellness program?  These are a fairly new thing that cropped up with the Affordable Care Act, where the employers can offer financial incentives to participate in a program that monitors your health.  The idea is that healthier people cost less in medical expenses, so some of the savings can be passed on to them.

The catch: Wellness programs are supposed to be entirely voluntary, which means they can't require you to get the health screenings.  And they aren't supposed to penalize you for not doing so.

There's a pretty fine line between offering incentives to do the screenings, and penalizing you if you don't.  And so some wellness plans have come under fire for trying to force compliance.

What exactly is the difference between voluntary-with-incentives and involuntary wellness plans, after all?

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