Last week the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) proposed rules to clarify how employers can use the ACA’s increased permissible financial incentives in wellness programs that include features like biometric screening or health risk assessments without running afoul of disability nondiscrimination laws. Under the proposal, incentives for programs that seek disability or medical information wouldn't be voluntary if they exceed 30 percent of the cost of employee-only coverage. Reasonable accommodations would need to be given to employees with disabilities to allow them to earn the incentives.
Separately, the federal agencies charged with enforcing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) issued FAQs addressing ACA wellness program compliance and a study on workplace wellness.
Regulators also have informally clarified an aspect of the final forms and instructions for ACA employer shared-responsibility and minimum essential coverage reports regarding the "98% offer" simplified reporting method. Officials have indicated that employers can only exclude employees in limited non-assessment periods from their 98% determinations if the employees don't receive 1095-Cs for the year — for example, employees who were in a non-assessment period for all months of employment that year. This interpretation will make it more difficult for many employers to meet the 98% threshold.
In Congress this week, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the ACA’s medical device tax. Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is a leading proponent of efforts to repeal the 2.3%, $29 billion tax, and the hearing will focus on its effect on jobs, innovation and other issues.