EEOC Releases Sample Notice for Employer Wellness Programs

New rules published on May 17, 2016, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), require employers who offer wellness programs that collect employee health information to provide a notice to employees informing them of what information will be collected, how it will be used, who will receive it, and what will be done to keep this information confidential.

Health information is often gathered under wellness programs through voluntary health risk assessments (HRAs) or voluntary biometric screenings that include medical examinations (such as tests to detect high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes). The EEOC has published a sample notice to help employers comply with the ADA. Click the links below to access the sample notice and related Q&A.

Sample Notice for Employer-sponsored Wellness Programs

Questions and Answers Regarding Sample Wellness Program Notice

Highlights of the Notice Requirements

Format

  • Using the exact wording from the sample notice is not required.
  • Employers may tailor these notices to the specific features of their wellness programs.
  • Employers already providing a HIPAA notice may comply with the ADA rules by revising their existing HIPAA notice to include all newly-required information.
  • Notices may be provided in hard copy or by email, but employees with disabilities may need an appropriate alternative format.
  • Notice must not be “buried” in unrelated information.

Timing

  • The notice is due by the first day of the first plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2017.
  • A specific timeframe for distribution was not provided (e.g., within a certain number of days prior to collecting health information).
  • Employees must receive the notice prior to providing health information, thus allowing them enough time to decide whether to participate in the wellness program.
  • Third-party distribution (such as by a wellness vendor) is permitted, but the onus remains with the employer.

Next Steps

Employers that collect health information as part of a wellness program should review the sample notice and either prepare new notices or revise their existing notices and procedures in time for their 2017 open enrollment plan year. For more information on the ADA EEOC Final Regulations, see the HUB International Client Bulletin: EEOC Finalizes Wellness Regulations.

NOTICE OF DISCLAIMER     

The information herein is intended to be educational only and is based on information that is generally available.  HUB International makes no representation or warranty as to its accuracy and is not obligated to update the information should it change in the future. The information is not intended to be legal or tax advice. Consult your attorney and/or professional advisor as to your organization’s specific circumstances and legal, tax or other requirements.