EEOC has issued a sample notice and FAQs to help employers who have wellness programs comply with the recently issued Americans and Disabilities Act (ADA) rules. For a copy of the notice and the FAQs, go to our Resources page.
Employers offering wellness programs must provide the ADA notice the first day of the plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2017 (i.e., the first day of the plan year of the plan offering wellness incentives). However, the FAQs state that if employees already receive the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) required notice that describes what information will be collected, who will receive it, how it will be used, and how it will be kept confidential, it is not necessary to provide the separate ADA notice unless the HIPAA notice does not include all of the ADA required information or unless the HIPAA notice is not easily understood.
Under the ADA rules, if a wellness program asks employees about their medical conditions or asks them to take a medical exam such as a test for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, an employer must ensure that:
- The program is reasonably designed to promote health and prevent disease
- The program is voluntary
- Any medical information about the employee will be kept confidential
A wellness program may include limited financial and other incentives to encourage employees to participate in a wellness program. However, an employer cannot:
- Require employees to participate in the program
- Retaliate against or interfere with an employee who does not want to participate in the program
- Coerce, threaten, intimidate, or harass an employee to participate in the program
For more details, refer to the Notice and the FAQs on our Resources page.