Al Lewis has long stated that wellness programs overreach, especially those that are outcomes-based. (“If you don’t lose so much weight, your bonus/pay raise will be less.”) And he’s CEO of Quizzify, a company that relies on employee education to address health. In other words, he competes with wellness vendors.
So, it’s no surprise that Lewis is reporting that the AARP has sued Yale over a wellness program in which employees could lose $1,300 in income a year for nonparticipation. Lewis says on his blog: “There is no link yet because this just happened Tuesday afternoon.”
Other employers should take note because, Lewis says, Yale’s wellness program “is one of the best conventional programs we’ve ever seen. It is one of the few programs in the country actually compliant with the US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations. Their coaching company, Trestle Tree, is a good vendor. In other words, running an exemplary program does not inoculate you against these lawsuits.”
Lewis tells employers that the major risk isn’t workers suing you over wellness programs but that companies will need to bear the costs of making those programs compliant “at least until new EEOC safe harbor rules are published. This will require possibly substantial changes to any penalties or employee ability to access your best healthcare offering. Changes could even be retrospective to the beginning of 2019, at considerable expense.”