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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Wellness Programs Hurt by Rules, CEOS Say - Business Roundtable Report Calls for More Flexibility to Ensure Fairness

From The Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON—Large U.S. companies are chafing at federal requirements they say limit the effectiveness of their employee wellness programs.

Under Affordable Care Act rules released last year, employers can offer programs that reward or penalize employees who don't meet specific health goals, such as lowering blood sugar, weight or cholesterol.

But these outcome-based programs also must provide a reasonable, alternative standard that may let workers qualify for incentives even if they don't meet a specific health outcome. Some employers say that may open programs to abuse and can be unfair to employees who do meet the health goals.
 
At Caesars, employees get their premiums offset by $40 a paycheck if they participate in a biometric screening that measures risk factors such as blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If they maintain or improve their results, they're eligible for an additional outcome-based bonus of $250 per individual annually.
But because of the federal requirement, employees can also get the bonus if their screening results don't improve, as long as they participate in options such as a discussion with a nurse. The concern at the company is that employees may get doctor's notes so they don't have to improve their results, or get a reward that may not be deserved.
 
The issue with the federal rule is that employees at companies may in some cases be able to simply read a book or take an online class and still qualify for a reward even if they don't reach their health goal, said Mr. Loveman.

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