EmployerLINC Webinar: Employee Wellness on a Shoestring Budget

by McAfee & Taft
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In an effort to help control spiraling health care costs, employers are increasingly turning to company-sponsored wellness programs that have demonstrated the positive effect of personal health and fitness on the bottom line. At the same time, these wellness programs are subject to a number of federal and state laws that regulate their design and implementation.

During this one-hour webinar, employee benefits attorney Bill Freudenrich and See more +

In an effort to help control spiraling health care costs, employers are increasingly turning to company-sponsored wellness programs that have demonstrated the positive effect of personal health and fitness on the bottom line. At the same time, these wellness programs are subject to a number of federal and state laws that regulate their design and implementation.

During this one-hour webinar, employee benefits attorney Bill Freudenrich and employment attorney Charlie Plumb will be joined by guest speaker Todd Neaves, president of PremierSource, an employee benefits and risk management consulting firm, to discuss how employers can implement a simple, enforceable workplace wellness program that is affordable and that adeptly navigates the regulatory minefield that can get employers in trouble.

Topics include:

• Avoiding the legal pitfalls associated with smoking-cessation and weight management programs

• How the ADA impacts wellness programs, including health risk assessments

and what conditions can or cannot be targeted

• Adding incentives for offering and participating in wellness programs

• How to provide incentives to employees without violating HIPAA’s nondiscrimination rules

• How financial incentives may potentially face legal challenges and how you can avoid them

• What you can expect under the health care reform law, rules and regulations

Webinar presentation materials can be downloaded at: http://www.mcafeetaft.com/Repository/Files/EmployerLINC_Webinar_12-05-02_Employee-Wellness-Laws_presentation.pdf

Webinar Q&A

The following are answers to some of the most frequently questions from the live broadcast. Please note that these answers are being provided for informational purposes and do not provide legal advice and are not intended to create a lawyer-client relationship. In addition, we are not able to provide answers to fact-specific inquiries. Readers should not act upon the information provided below without seeking professional counsel.

Q: On the topic of smoking, should employers treat those who use smokeless tobacco the same as those who smoke cigarettes? Does the law view them differently?

A: Smokeless tobacco is treated the same as cigarettes.

Q: In order to be compliant with state laws, would a company’s policy regarding wellness programs need to be included in the employee handbook, or could it be a separate form that employees sign off on and add to their files??

A: The wellness policy should be an addendum to the health plan and should be incorporated into the handbook as well.

Q: Are Type 2 wellness plans considered involuntary?

A: Yes, in most cases.

Q: For a Tier A violation of PPACA, does the $100 per violation apply to every employee that you unknowingly forced to overpay, or does it apply for all employees on the plan?

A: The $100 penalty is assessed based on every employee that is eligible for the health plan.

Q: How can federal law override a surcharge on a health plan premium subsidized by InsureOklahoma where the monthly premium is pre-determined by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority?

A: It depends on who is the plan sponsor. If the employer is the sponsor and only receives a subsidy, then the plan should override state law.

Q: What are your thoughts about hosting a health fair with health professionals and other vendors (hospital, dental, gym reps)?

A: Hosting a health fair can be a great strategy, particularly from a cost perspective. So many times, a local hospital provider or physician’s office will participate in health fairs as a way to market their facilities. Some may be willing to provide this service at a discounted fee simply to have access to your employees and introduce their services to them.

One word of caution, though: Unless a health fair is properly organized and executed, it can come off as convoluted and “piece-meal” when so many separate parties are involved.

Additional information

If you would like more information about company-sponsored wellness programs and how such a program could be tailored to help achieve your company’s goals, Todd Neaves, our guest speaker during this webinar, along with the employee benefits specialists at PremierSource are available to meet with you and your team to provide more in-depth information and answer your specific questions. Todd Neaves can be reached at (405) 228-7699 or todd.neaves@premier-source.com.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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