AARP filed the suit against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., on October 24, arguing that wellness programs can violate employees’ privacy and may not be truly voluntary.
Employers are getting a look at new final rules affecting how they structure wellness programs, rules that are meant to clear up conflicts among various federal laws but that also may make administration of wellness programs more challenging.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) new rules describe how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to employer wellness programs that request health information from employees and their spouses. The rules—one dealing with the ADA and the other with GINA—explain how workplace wellness programs can comply with the ADA and GINA consistent with provisions in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
A new proposed rule from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) settles the question of whether employers are justified in seeking medical information on covered spouses participating in wellness programs.
The proposed rule, published in the October 30 Federal Register, would amend regulations implementing Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). The proposed rule’s summary states that it addresses how an employer may offer inducements for an employee’s covered spouse to provide information about current or past health status as part of a health risk assessment connected to the employer’s wellness program.
by Elizabeth A. Diller and James P. McElligott Jr.
Employer-sponsored health plans subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) must be in compliance with the final rule under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) by September 23.
The rule went into effect on March 26, 2013. Entities covered under HIPAA, including group health plans and their “business associates,” will have one year from the September 23 compliance date to amend existing business associate agreements.
The long-awaited final Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in January become effective on March 26. According to the HHS, the regulations represent “the most sweeping changes to the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules since they were first implemented.” The regulations are based on changes under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released new certification forms for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The new forms carry an expiration date of February 28, 2015, and replace forms that had a December 31, 2011, expiration date.
The new forms appear to be identical to the old forms except for the expiration date. They don’t include the “safe harbor” language required by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which informs employees that they shouldn’t provide any genetic information when responding to any employer request for medical information.
The calendar now says 2012, but employers may notice that their Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) carry a December 31, 2011, expiration date. What to do? For now, just keep using the old forms.
The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has submitted the forms for medical certification, leave designation, and certification related to service member leave for renewal to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Until the OMB approves the documents, you can continue to use the expired forms.
Employers have some new language to include on certain Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms because of the Genetic Information Nondisclosure Act (GINA), according to employment law attorney Stacie L. Caraway, who led an FMLA session at the October Advanced Employment Issues Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee.
Caraway says a one-paragraph statement is available on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) website and tells doctors not to include any genetic information on the FMLA certification form. Including the EEOC language also gives employers a “safe harbor” showing that even if the doctor provides prohibited information, the employer didn’t violate the law.
After several delays, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued final regulations that interpret and implement the nondiscrimination requirements of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). For the most part, the final regulations don’t differ substantially from the ones proposed by the agency nearly two years ago. However, they do provide specific examples of what employers must do (and refrain from doing) to comply.