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On November 26th, the Federal Government published proposed rules for nondiscriminatory wellness programs in the Federal Register. The proposed regulations would increase the maximum allowable reward under a health-contingent wellness program offered in connection with a group health plan from 20 percent to 30 percent of the cost of coverage. For programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use, the maximum permissible reward would increase to 50 percent.

The proposed rules also further clarify the requirements for health-contingent wellness programs and the alternatives that must be provided in order to avoid discrimination when applying incentives and disincentives under this type of program.

The new regulations would apply to group health plans and group health insurance coverage for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014. Comments on the proposed rules are due on or before January 25, 2013.

A roundup of coverage, including links to the proposed rules and instructions for submitting comments are included, below.

The Proposed Rules and How to Comment

Proposed Rule: Incentives for Nondiscriminatory Wellness Programs in Group Health Plans
A Proposed Rule by the Internal Revenue Service, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the Health and Human Services Department. Published in the Federal Register on 11/26/2012

The Affordable Care Act and Wellness Programs
Fact sheet from HealthCare.gov

Instructions for submitting comments

Direct link to submit comments

News Coverage

HHS Releases Proposed Rules On Essential Health Benefits, Other Key Parts Of Health Law
Kaiser Health News

New Rules For 'Obamacare' Scrutinized By Insurers, Employers, States, Consumers
Kaiser Health News

HHS rules to encourage wellness programs
The Hill's Healthwatch Blog

Proposed Rules Issued on Guaranteed Coverage, Essential Benefits and Wellness Incentives
Society for Human Resource Management

HHS Proposes Rules on Employee Wellness, Essential Health Benefits

HHS proposals increase anti-smoking incentives
Employee Benefit News

Implementing Health Reform: The Dam Bursts
Health Affairs Blog

Implementing Health Reform: Wellness Programs And Medicaid FAQ
Health Affairs Blog

Wonkbook: Everything you need to know about Obamacare’s regulations
Washington Post

Obama Pushes Health Law Forward With Rules for Insurers

Additional Reading

Guidance for a Reasonably Designed, Employer-Sponsored Wellness Program Using Outcomes-Based Incentives
Consensus Statement of the Health Enhancement Research Organization, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, and American Heart Association

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/greentea / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Every job has its ups and downs. This year, to take the pulse of the workforce and hear a little more about people’s experiences at work, we went out and talked with six people from very different professions. Part 5 of the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program's video series "Six Degrees of Bringing Home the Bacon" follows Greg, an entrepreneur.

How stressful is your job? What motivates you to do your best work? How do you cope with a tough day? What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your job? Stay tuned as we wrap up the series with a new video that features a Pilates instructor.

If you missed the introduction to our series, you can watch it here.

Also, be sure to check out the entire series.

Collaboration gets us all there faster

Seven years ago when I was writing my master’s thesis, finding articles to support my argument that healthy workplace practices benefit both employees and the organization’s bottom line was easy; simply because there weren't many articles or resources around.

Now the term "healthy workplace" is more common and when I talk to people about what I do, I no longer get blank stares. People want to work for organizations that do the “right thing,” employees talk openly about their company’s wellness benefits (Yoga, anyone?) and ask for more professional development opportunities because they understand if they are healthy and happy, it also benefits their employer.

In one sense, it was easier five to ten years ago to spread the message about how important healthy workplaces are because there were so many people to convince – from top leadership, to managers and HR. Fast-forward to 2012 and there is a lot of talk about healthy workplaces around the globe and across every type of organization, it’s no longer something that happens only at Google or IBM.

In fact, organizations that have policies and practices in place that promote a healthy workplace continue to be recognized as employers of choice, highlighted on lists and given awards such as our Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award. This helps organizational leaders understand how doing what is right can also be good for business.

What if, one day, healthy workplaces just “are” and everyone inherently understood the value? At some point, I think we will get there. Just considering where we were when I was scanning through journal and magazine articles for my thesis, we have come a long way.

Effective health promotion efforts require collaboration. It is in that spirit of collaboration that psychologists and other workplace health professionals have shifted from spending most of their time convincing people of the importance of a healthy workplace to working with them to actually make it happen.

Even though we don't all use the same terms, we are all striving toward a common goal – to effect a larger change and make healthy workplaces a reality for everyone. There is still a lot to do, but at least now we have more people aboard, headed in the same direction.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lady-madonna / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0



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This page is an archive of entries from November 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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