An employer may offer financial incentives to its employees for participating in employee wellness programs that receive health-related information, subject to certain limits.

On May 16, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC) issued final rules that provide guidance on how employer-sponsored wellness programs can comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) while remaining consistent with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as amended by the Affordable Care Act (the ACA).

This article discusses key aspects of the EEOC Rules and their implications for employers. New Rules, concerning maximum incentive limits, wellness program eligibility restrictions and notice requirements, go into effect on January 1, 2017. The EEOC views the remainder of the regulations as clarifying and reinforcing existing obligations under Title I of the ADA and Title II of GINA, and therefore as already having been in effect.

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