Wellness programs: Does your health-risk questionnaire violate the new genetic-bias law?

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employee Benefits Program,Firing,Hiring,HR Management,Human Resources

It’s time to take a fresh look at the health questionnaires you hand out to employees as part of your wellness program.

New federal regulations that prohibit discrimination against people with congenital medical conditions mean employers and health benefits providers must immediately review health risk assessments (HRAs) to make sure they don’t ask employees to reveal protected information.

The rules could hinder the effectiveness of wellness benefits programs that try to identify employees’ potential health problems and then prescribe preventive measures.

The regulations were published in October by the departments of Labor, Treasury and Health & Human Services—the three agencies in charge of enforcing the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). The rules apply to plan years beginning on or after Dec. 7, 2009.

No more HRA incentives

The new regulations also forbid employers from offering incent...(register to read more)

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