Garrett Fenton was quoted regarding the recent guidance provided by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and its interaction with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). "I think everyone in the employer community and the insurer community is happy to see that at least we have something now. There are certainly some open questions still, and some areas where I think the proposed rules could be improved," Fenton said. The EEOC clarified the definition of voluntary employee health programs in the new rules as there are legal and financial implications that hang in the balance.
Fenton noted that while it's good to have more information from the EEOC on this topic, there is little guidance offered about how these financial incentives and penalties would be calculated with insurance policies that cover both an employee and spouse or an employee and family. The release of the EEOC preliminary rules provides a good opportunity to go back and take a look at wellness program policies beyond just the original rules contained in the ACA, he added. "Employers really had just structured their plans to comply with the ACA rules," Fenton said, "and now there are distinctions between the two, and you generally have to comply with both."