Keeping Your Wellness Program Compliant

Dr. Christine

You don’t have to be a health insurance expert to know that healthcare coverage makes up a significant portion of businesses’ operating costs. Looking ahead to next year, Willis Tower Watson predicts the average annual per-employee cost for health insurance will increase 5.3% to $12,850 (up from $12,200 in 2017). Understandably, employers are always looking for ways to get a firmer handle on rising healthcare costs and often turn to wellness programs as a possible solution.   

Three Important Federal Laws That Affect Wellness Plans

Before you launch a wellness program, it’s important to do your homework. Mistakes can be costly for both your employees and your bottom line. One area you should pay particularly close attention to is the intersection of wellness plans and federal law. There are several comprehensive federal statutes that impact workplace wellness plans, so before you put your plan in place, make sure you consult with a legal expert who can help you stay on the right side of the law.

1. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) includes nondiscrimination rules that apply to wellness plans being offered in connection with group health plans. Under HIPAA, workplace wellness programs are divided into two categories: participatory wellness programs and health-contingent wellness programs.  

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Compliance, wellness, employee wellness, wellness program

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Flexible Schedules: Tap This Employee Benefit to Attract Top Talent

David Rook

A recent survey found that Millennials of both genders are more likely to accept a job that offers a flexible schedule. Why is a flexible schedule so important? Entrepreneur magazine reported 74 percent of employees want it for better work-life balance. Other reasons included health and exercise, time savings, reduced commute stress, costsavings, and more time to travel or spend with family.

To date, millennials already make up one in three American workers, and are expected to become the largest living generation in the not-so-distant future. Offering benefits that attract top talent from this demographic is critical to a company's future growth and success. Can you balance a productive workforce, while giving employees the schedules they want? It's worth examining why and how some companies are making flexible schedules work in their company culture.

Why?

Many employers fear that flexible schedules give employees too many opportunities to slack off. In fact, the opposite is true. Study after study shows that flexible schedules contribute to increased productivity, a happier workforce, and better recruiting leverage. Reporting on Yahoo's decision to ban working at home, the Washington Post commented, "Such a policy could very well hurt Yahoo’s chances at recruiting the most talented young developers, engineers, and executive talent." Consider the highlights from just two studies:

  • Fewer distractions equals increased productivity. Sixty-one percent of employees report being less distracted by office politics. Another 59 percent say they experience fewer distractions from their colleagues, 56 percent say they have less general distractions.
  • Flexible scheduling is a huge recruitment tool. Researchers reported that 82 percent of workers say they would be more loyal to their employer simply because of flexible schedules. Thirty-nine percent would even turn down a promotion, not take a job, or quit a job because of not having flexible scheduling options.
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Topics: Employee Benefits, Flexible Schedules, employee wellness

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