Guidelines for wellness incentives…

Promoting prevention is a major goal of the Affordable Care Act. In that effort, it makes sense that employers get involved, since employers have an interest in keeping their workers healthy, both to be productive and to keep health insurance costs down.

Workplace wellness efforts have the potential of having an impact, since that’s where we spend a good portion of our time. For example, an employer can encourage and make accomodations for workers to commute by walking, biking, or using public transportation, rather than driving. That said, these efforts can be counterproductive without some oversight, with inequitable or discriminatory impacts. We need to advance the cause of prevention while maintaining workers’ rights and privacy.

We were pleased to join Senator Monning for a roundtable discussion to discuss worksite wellness programs and his effort to establish consumer protections.  We were also joined by Dr. Francisco Prieto M.D., Family Physician and Volunteer for the American Diabetes Association. You can view the discussion here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZDG8hwHJQc, and below.

Senator Monning’s bill, SB189, is an important measure to provide guidelines for these wellness programs so they are not a subterfuge for discrimination or just a way for employers or insurers to shift costs to less healthy people. SB 189 is waiting a hearing in Senate Health Committee.

SB 189 is needed to prevent wellness programs from becoming a means through which health care reform–including the promise that people are not discriminated because of pre-existing conditions–can be circumvented.  The bills provides focus to an important effort to move forward here in California to implement and improve upon the Affordable Care Act.
 
Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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