New rules published on May 17, 2016, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require employers who offer wellness programs that collect employee health information to provide a notice to employees informing them what information will be collected, how it will be used, who will receive it, and what will be done to keep it confidential. Wellness programs often gather health information through voluntary health risk assessments (HRAs) or voluntary biometric screenings that include medical examinations (such as tests to detect high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes). The EEOC has published a sample notice to help employers comply with the ADA. The EEOC has also provided Q&As to further explain this new notice requirement.
This new notice should not be confused with the HIPAA Disclosure of Reasonable Alternatives which requires wellness plans that offer an incentive to inform employees of alternative options for earning incentives. However, if a wellness program offers incentives and also uses an HRA, the two notices may be combined into one notice as long as all of the prerequisite elements are included.
For additional information on the Disclosure of Reasonable Alternative, please see Compliancedashboard.