Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
In our review of health care reform’s impact on wellness programs last month, we forecasted that the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (PPACA) would boost the adoption of workplace wellness programs and help lay the foundation for creating a culture of health and prevention in the workplace. A recent survey, conducted by the Chicago-based Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH), suggests that the PPACA’s emphasis on wellness is resonating with employers.
Most of the PPACA’s wellness provisions do not take effect for a number of years. In fact, one of the key provisions, which increases the allowable premium discounts, rebate or other rewards employers may offer employees who participate in wellness programs, does not begin until 2014. Even with the legislative changes still far off, employers have already indicated their intent to expand wellness programs. As part of its study, MBGH surveyed 1,300 employers to gauge their intentions and perspectives concerning the PPACA. It found that 60% of employers are likely or very likely to create or expand their wellness programs as a direct result of the PPACA’s incentive provision. 78% of employers already agreed or somewhat agreed with the statement that the costs of the health care reform law make it more important than ever that employers keep their workers healthy, and motivated to adopt healthy lifestyles. This demonstrates a recognition among employers of the importance of their employees’ health to the success of their companies.
The recent survey also displayed some of the confusion surrounding the implementation of health care reform for employers. While most employers have begun educating employees about the new law, 38% said they have not decided what to communicate to employees and 6% said they do not plan to inform employees about the law. Larry S. Boress, president and chief executive of MBGH, attributes this to employers’ uncertainty and confusion surrounding health care reform and its new rules.
Gregory C. Keating authored this entry.