Class Action Challenge To Wellness Plan Incentives


A class action lawsuit is pending in federal district court in Florida alleging that an employer's wellness plan that charges a higher premium for employees who do not complete biometric screenings a health risk assessment violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) even though the wellness plan complies with with the requirements of ERISA and HIPAA.

The ADA generally prohibits employers from requiring employees to participate in medical examinations or health risk assessments to provide disability-related information but allows employers to establish "voluntary wellness programs" that solicit such information/participation. The issue is whether the financial "penalty" for not participating results in the program being "involuntary" and in violation of the ADA requirements (even though the financial incentive and structure of the wellness program otherwise satisfy the ERISA and HIPAA requirements for a wellness plan).

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