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New Analysis Examines Proposed Changes to Workplace Wellness Programs

As Congress considers legislation that would change federal rules governing workplace wellness programs that gather information about workers’ health and risk status, a new Kaiser Family Foundation brief explains how workplace wellness programs could be affected and possible implications for workers with sensitive health conditions.

Among the findings:

  • Seven in 10 (71%) large employers providing health benefits collect personal health information through wellness programs, according to the annual Kaiser Family Foundation/HRET Employer Health Benefits Survey.
  • The pending legislation would affect nearly all workplace wellness programs that ask for personal health information. Under the bill, in these programs, there would be no limit on penalties that could be applied to workers and their dependents who decline to provide sensitive personal health and genetic information.
  • An estimated 38.8 million adults with employer-sponsored insurance (29.8%) have one or more of seven stigmatized health conditions that could trigger privacy concerns, according to an analysis of the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. These conditions include a sexually transmitted disease, diabetes, a mental health disorder, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B or C, pregnancy, or an alcohol or substance use disorder.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.