Broad Support for Legislation to Provide Certainty to Employers Offering Innovative Employee Wellness Programs

Business leaders and health care industry experts praise ?legislation to eliminate confusion caused by EEOC ?

Posted on April 2, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 2 – The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, introduced by Senate and House leaders last month to provide legal certainty for employers offering innovative employee wellness programs, is receiving broad support from business leaders and health care industry experts. 

The bill was introduced last month by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) with Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Reps. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and aims to eliminate confusion caused by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for employers offering wellness programs that lower employees’ health insurance premiums to reward healthy lifestyle choices.

“The National Business Group on Health writes in strong support of S. 620/H.R. 1189, the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act. We applaud your leadership to align government policy and provide legal clarity to support employers’ wellness programs and financial incentives that reward healthy lifestyles….Your proposed legislation would clear up this confusion for employers and the employees who value these programs and aligns the federal government’s policy to consistently support wellness programs.” –Brian J. Marcotte, National Business Group on Health

“To maintain global competitiveness and help achieve good health in our communities, American companies must encourage healthy behavior with every tool in our toolkit. In other words, a healthy workforce is a productive workforce, and a productive workforce makes for a healthier American economy. We thank you for your sponsorship of S. 620.”—James A. Klein, American Benefits Council

“We urge the Senate to pass this legislation this year. It is important for Congress to eliminate the legal confusion surrounding wellness program financial incentives that has been caused by the recent legal actions taken by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and restore certainty for employers who want to reward their employees for leading healthy lifestyles.” Daniel V. Yager, HR Policy Association

“ERIC applauds you for developing and introducing this legislation, as it would provide legal certainty and eliminate confusion caused by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for employers offering wellness programs to their employees. This issue is significant for ERIC members as their wellness plans are part of the comprehensive health benefits they provide to millions of active and retired employees and their families.”—Annette Guarisco Fildes, The ERISA Industry Committee

“NAHU has long been a proponent of group wellness programs and we appreciate your leadership on this important issue for employers and employees alike to be able to participate in wellness programs that will help to both improve overall health and reduce the cost of care. With an ever increasing cost of medical care and health insurance coverage, wellness programs have a demonstrated ability to improve health and save money. Efforts to increase the use of wellness programs and encourage all employees to live a healthy lifestyle will only further these results.”—Janet Trautwein, National Association of Health Underwriters

“The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act will provide employers with more certainty that evidenced-based employee wellness programs designed to meet existing regulatory guidelines will not face unnecessary litigation from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Passage of this bill will protect crucial tools for employer wellness programs, biometric screenings, health risk assessments, and premium incentives, which help employees receive interventions best suited to their health needs and goals.”—Mary R. Grealy, Healthcare Leadership Council

“This legislation provides legal certainty and eliminates confusion arising from action by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for employers offering employee wellness programs that lower health insurance premiums to reward healthy lifestyle choices. The legislation provides support for those employers, who may be hesitant to provide wellness programs for fear of violating EEOC requirements.”—Kathryn Mueller, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

“On behalf of the undersigned organizations, which represent millions of employers who employ tens of millions of employees, we write to express our support for S. 620, the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, and to thank you for sponsoring this important legislation. S. 620 will provide much needed clarification over the legality of voluntary workplace wellness programs and employers’ use of financial incentives to encourage participation in such programs.”—Associated Builders and Contractors, Associated General Contractors, College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, Food Marketing Institute, HR Policy Association, Independent Electrical Contractors, International Foodservice Distributors Association, International Franchise Association, International Public Management Association for Human Resources, National Association of Manufacturers, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, National Council of Chain Restaurants, National Federation of Independent Business, National Grocers Association, National Public Employer Labor Relations Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Society for Human Resource Management, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce [link]

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