Congress Mulls Wellness Plans Medicare Payment Reforms

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Congress Mulls Wellness Plans Medicare Payment Reforms
Calendar31 March 2015

Last week in Congress, Republican lawmakers and employer groups voiced support at a House hearing for a bill to clarify that employers with HIPAA-compliant wellness plans do not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Under the legislation, employer wellness programs could offer the higher incentives permitted by the ACA and request family members to provide certain medical information without triggering genetic or disability discrimination claims. Meanwhile, the EEOC sent long-awaited ADA proposed regulations on the issue to the Obama administration for review.

Also last week, the House overwhelmingly approved major legislation (HR 2) to change the way Medicare pays doctors and other providers. The Senate is expected to send the bill to President Obama for his signature when it returns from recess in two weeks. Providers participating in alternative payment models that meet certain requirements would get higher payments than others. The reforms will come as part of a broad push toward quality-based purchasing by government health programs. Medicare administrators want to shift half of the program’s fee-for-service spending to new payment models by the end of 2018.  

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