Posts Tagged: ADA

The Latest Win for Wellness Programs May Be More of a Win for the EEOC

in Health Benefits, Wellness Programs

Although the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin held that the employer wellness program at issue in EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems did not violate the ADA, the EEOC may find much it likes in this court’s rationale.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from requiring employees to undergo medical examinations or answer disability-related questions, but provides certain exceptions that relate to benefit plans or wellness programs.  There have been several recent cases interpreting these exceptions, many of which had been clear wins for employer wellness programs. In this case, Orion (the employer) waived the… Continue Reading

Senate HELP Committee to Discuss Wellness

in Wellness Programs

Ever since the EEOC filed a lawsuit challenging Honeywell’s employer wellness plan under the ADA, employers have become hyper sensitive to wellness plan issues.  Many employers feel the EEOC challenges are unwarranted, particularly because the wellness plans already meet the requirements under the DOL and IRS guidance for employer-sponsored wellness plans.  Still others feel that ADA challenges should not filed until regulations have been finalized by the EEOC.  On that latter front, it’s taken the EEOC over a decade to come up with its current strategy, so it’s not surprising that regulations or guidance have not been issued.  Currently, the… Continue Reading

11th Circuit Upholds Broward County

in Health Benefits, Wellness Programs

Yesterday, the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld summary judgment in favor of the employer in Seff v. Broward County. This was a case that has been intensely watched due to the implications for wellness plans. In the Broward County case, Broward offered a wellness program sponsored by Broward’s group health insurer. The employee wellness program consisted of two components: a biometric screening, and an “online Health Risk Assessment questionnaire.” The insurer used information gathered from the screening and questionnaire to identify Broward employees who had one of five disease states: asthma, hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure,… Continue Reading

Voluntary Wellness Programs

in Wellness Programs

An exemption exists from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for wellness programs, if the wellness program is “voluntary.”  The EEOC has yet to rule on what amount of financial or other inducements will make a wellness program “involuntary,” thereby violating the ADA rules.  For the most part, plan sponsors have continued offering minor inducements, such as gift cards, deductible waivers, and copay waivers, for those individuals who participate in a wellness program.  For the latest iteration of this long-running issue, the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits asked the EEOC various voluntariness questions.  As the EEOC has done for the past… Continue Reading

Participants Sue Wellness Program

in Court Cases, Welfare Benefits, Wellness Programs

Last week a federal district court in Florida certified a class action against Broward County Florida’s health plan.  The class action alleges that the plan’s wellness program violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by charging employees a $20 bi-weekly surcharge for not participating in a wellness program.  The wellness program required biometric testing (glucose and cholesterol) and completion of an online health risk assessment.  If participants did not complete the testing and health risk assessment, participants were charged a $20 bi-weekly surcharge.  While these kinds of programs are allowed under HIPAA and ERISA (subject to certain requirements), the EEOC has been mostly… Continue Reading