Carrots and sticks: 5 ways HIPAA limits wellness programs

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

As the cost of health care continues to increase, employers that provide health care benefits to employees are looking for ways to control costs. Since it is clear that better health translates into lower health care costs, employers increasingly embrace the concept of financial incentives to persuade employees to make healthier lifestyle choices.

Thus the rise of wellness programs—a great idea, but one that can run afoul of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Wellness programs—a relatively new phenomenon—emphasize ways to improve health or prevent disease. Many wellness programs feature financial incentives for employees to use them, such as reduced premiums or deductibles. Other health insurance programs charge higher premiums if people do not enroll in wellness programs.

HIPAA restrictions

Wellness programs are subject to HIPAA, a complex statute covering a variety of areas ...(register to read more)

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