June 10, 2016
This week, HR Policy Association joined three other organizations in filing an amicus brief opposing an EEOC challenge in the Seventh Circuit to wellness programs in employer-provided health care plans. In EEOC v. Flambeau and in final regulations issued last month, the EEOC seeks to limit the use of wellness plans by claiming that the plans are not covered by a safe harbor for insurance plans under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The safe harbor was included for employer-provided health plans that do not operate as a ruse to discriminate against individuals with disabilities. After losing in federal district court, the agency appealed the decision to the Seventh Circuit. Our brief argues that the EEOC's position would prevent maximum participation in wellness programs and, in turn, significantly diminish the positive impact that they have on employee health and employer costs. Our brief also argues that adoption of the EEOC's position would promote higher costs for employer-provided healthcare plans and preclude benefits that wellness programs provide from flowing to the maximum number of employees possible. The court has not yet set a date for oral arguments.