More emphasis on wellness

Employers “plan to sharply increase the incentive amount for maintaining a healthy lifestyle or participating in a wellness program,” according to a survey by the National Business Group on Health.

Companies know full well that the Affordable Care Act changes the minimum amount an employer can deduct from premiums under HIPAA from 20 to 30 percent.

Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the Leonard Davis Institute, pointed out to us in March ( that Section 2705 of the Affordable Care Act says that, “beginning in 2014, an employer may use 30 percent of an employee’s premium for outcome-based wellness incentives (and 50 percent in some cases, if the government approves).”

“They can say you are going to pay $10,000 a year, but if your body mass index is less than X, you don’t smoke, you have a low LDL cholesterol and a well-controlled blood pressure, you are going to pay $7,000 a year,” says Volpp. “This will change the current model considerably if employers start doing this.”

When the HIPAA-allowed wellness incentive limit increases from 20% to 30% of total plan costs for an individual in 2014, do you expect to increase your incentives beyond the current 20 percent limit?

What are the 3 most effective steps you have taken or will take to control health care cost increases?

Source: National Business Group on Health, “Large Employers’ 2013 Health Plan Design Survey,” August 2012no periods in source lines

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