Bills Introduced in Congress to Permit Employee Wellness Programs

A few months ago, we wrote about several lawsuits filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) challenging employee wellness programs as violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) (See  EEOC Asserts Employee Wellness Program Violates Americans with Disabilities Act ;  EEOC Files Second Lawsuit Alleging Wellness Program Violates Americans with Disabilities Act; and Court Rejects EEOC’s Attempt to Restrain Implementation of Wellness Program)

In response to these lawsuits, legislation was introduced in both houses of Congress on March 2, that seeks to curtail enforcement actions against employer sponsored wellness programs.  The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (H.R. 1189, S. 620) would clarify that financial wellness incentives are permitted by HIPAA’s rules and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and that employers should not be punished for taking advantage of measures that could result in lower health coverage costs.