Chris Sears Quoted in SHRM Article: "Incentives Tied to Wellness Data Provoke Backlash"
Ice Miller partner Chris Sears was quoted in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) article, "Incentives Tied to Wellness Data Provoke Backlash."
The article included:
The rising concern about exactly how accurate and fair the use of individual health data really is might signal a shift in employers' practice away from such a wide net.
"I do think there are some employers who wonder if this is really the best use of a subsidy or premium discount," said Christopher Sears, a partner in the employee benefits group of Indianapolis-based law firm Ice Miller, citing the Pareto principle, the 80-20 rule that postulates 20 percent of a given population usually accounts for 80 percent of costs.
"Could that money better be used to pay a vendor and do a deep dive into the data and target chronic diseases and disease management programs to help the 20 percent manage their disease? They're starting to think they should try to promote prescription compliance and diabetic-diet compliance to try to tackle those larger costs."
Sears noted a more complicated regulatory climate around the programs; for instance, he said the new EEOC rules call for not only an affirmative notice to employees who are contemplating participating in a wellness program but that to get a spouse involved under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, an employer would need to go further and get affirmative consent.
"I hear employers talking about this," Sears said. "I'm not saying these plans should not be regulated, they should be—but at some point employers will view that regulation as burdensome and say, 'It's really not worth my time or money. I'm just going to charge employees the premium I was going to charge them.'"
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