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Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Obama Agenda: The Road to Workplace Wellness

As workers compensation programs are being diluted by soaring medical costs, The Obama Administration's policy makers are taking a bold new step to focus on promoting wellness and disease-prevention efforts in the workplace. 

Immediately following the presidential elction last November, the Department of Labor, Internatl Revenue Service and the Department of Health and Human Services proposed regulations to enforce workplace wellness programs under thre Affordable Care Act. The proposed regulations will stimulated employer programs to invite healthier workers and may go as far as penalizing those who maintian poor diets and inadequate exercise regiems. 
"... regulations would increase the maximum permissible reward under a
health-contingent wellness program offered in connection with a group
health plan (and any related health insurance coverage) from 20 percent
to 30 percent of the cost of coverage. The proposed regulations would
further increase the maximum permissible reward to 50 percent for
wellness programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use. These
regulations also include other proposed clarifications regarding the
reasonable design of health-contingent wellness programs and the
reasonable alternatives they must offer in order to avoid prohibited
One analysis of the proposal concludes......
"We are cautiously optimistic about the potential of workplace-wellness programs to help contain healthcare costs and to improve the health and well-being of millions of California’s workers. Preventing illness and injury through workplace-based strategies potentially benefits employees and their families, employers, and public and private insurance providers. There is emerging evidence about the effectiveness of WWPs in improving chronic disease outcomes, and a long history of occupational health and safety practices reducing workplace injury and death. Incentives in the ACA have the potential to serve as a catalyst for expanding WWP’s broadly in California. However, policy solutions need to respond to potential unintended consequences and account for the state’s incredibly diverse communities and businesses in order to make wellness programs work for all Californians."

Read The Greenlining Institute's report "Helth, Equity and the Bottom line: Workplace Wellness and California Business

Comments are due on or before January 25, 2013.

Read more about health care and workplace injuries and illnesses.

Jan 10, 2013
Curing the Profit Motive in Health Care. Soaring medical costs have afflicted the workers' compensation industry with economic distress and have severely impacted the efficient and effective delivery of medical care to injured ...
Nov 20, 2012
The National Institute For Occupational Safety And Health (NIOSH) has revised and republished informational material concerning the health hazards to healthcare workers were exposed to hazardous drugs. The publication ...
Nov 05, 2012
Access to health insurance is under attack. President's Obama's comprehensive health care reform law, intended to increase health care coverage for millions of Americans, faced extreme scrutiny by the U.S. Supreme Court ...
Sep 12, 2012
Throughout the nation Workers' Compensation systems have been impacted by health care costs that now take a large piece of the premium dollar. Traditional health care offered by employers mirrors the same problem of ...