On May 17, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final regulations on the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to wellness programs.
Among other new requirements regarding incentive limits and voluntariness of the program, the final regulations implemented a new notice requirement for certain wellness programs. Employers who offer a wellness program that collects employee health information must provide a notice to employees describing the information to be collected—how it will be used, who will receive it, and how it will be kept confidential.
Who must provide: Employers who offer a wellness program that collects employee health information must tailor their notices to the specific features of their wellness program.
When must it be provided: The notice must be provided when a wellness program that collects employee health information is provided to an employee.
Method of delivery: Notices may be provided in hard copy or via email, but will need to be a stand-alone message and not mixed with unrelated information. Employees with disabilities may need to receive notices in an alternative format.
Format: The wellness program must provide a notice that:
- Is written so that employees are likely to be able to understand it;
- Clearly explains what medical information will be obtained
- Identifies who will receive the medical information and how it will be used
- States the restrictions on disclosures along with the methods that will be used to prevent improper disclosure
Employers who provide notices under HIPAA regulations may already comply with the ADA requirements by revising their notices as necessary to include all required information. Employees must receive the notice before providing health information and with enough time to decide whether to participate in the wellness program.
More information can be found at https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/regulations/qanda-ada-wellness-final-rule.cfm