United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Court Remands Wellness Regulations to EEOC for Reconsideration

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Sep 21, 2017 9:30:00 AM

On August 22, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its decision to adopt 30 percent incentive levels for employer-sponsored wellness programs under both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rules and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) rules.

The court declined to vacate the EEOC's rules because of the significant disruptive effect it would have. However, the court remanded the rules to the EEOC for reconsideration.

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Topics: wellness, wellness incentives, UBA Health Plan Survey, employee benefit trends

Is Your Wellness Program Compliant with the ACA, GINA and EEOC?

Posted by: Valeria S. Tivnan, MPH, M.Ed.    May 9, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Workplace wellness programs have increased popularity through the years. According to the most recent UBA Health Plan Survey, 49 percent of firms with 200+ employees offering health benefits in 2016 offered wellness programs. Workplace wellness programs’ popularity also brought controversy and hefty discussions about what works to improve population health and which programs comply with the complex legal standards of multiple institutions that have not really “talked” to each other in the past. To “add wood to the fire,” the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) made public some legal actions that shook the core of the wellness industry, such as EEOC vs. Honeywell International, and EEOC vs. Orion Energy Systems.

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Topics: wellness, ACA, employee benefits, workplace wellness, GINA

The Future of Corporate Wellness – Where will we go from here?

Posted by: Valeria S. Tivnan, MPH, M.Ed.    Apr 11, 2017 9:30:00 AM

I am proud to say that I have been involved in corporate wellness since the mid-1980s. Helping employees live healthier and happier lives, as well as supporting employers with best-in-class tools to improve their cultures, have been my passion and purpose. I have witnessed and worked on corporate wellness since the time when physical health was the most important aspect of workers’ health. I cannot say I have worked with wellness since its inception, though. Corporate wellness has been around longer than many people think. To predict the future of wellness, we must understand its past.

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Topics: wellness, employee wellness, health risk assessment, UBA Health Plan Survey, return on investment

Identify and Evaluate the Impact of Your Wellness Program

Posted by: Mary Delaney, MSPT, CWP    Jan 5, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Measuring program value, or return on investment, is critical and imperative in managing a healthy wellness program. Further, clearly identifying and objectively evaluating the impact helps keep the vendor focused on what is critical for the employer. If these programs are not having the impact intended, then the cost of those services is only adding to medical spending waste.

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Topics: employee engagement, wellness, employee wellness, wellness programs, UBA Health Plan Survey, population health strategy, Vital Incite, health care cost containment, Mary Delaney, biometric risk assessment

Wellness Wearables: Novelty or an Impact to the Health Care Industry?

Posted by: Travis Horne, MBA    Dec 19, 2016 4:40:45 PM

It’s no secret in the wellness industry today that wellness wearables are in high demand as one of the most employer-offered program incentives. Wearables are not only being distributed at a large quantity by medical carriers, they are also being utilized by employers as an incentive to drive employee engagement on wellness platforms, challenges, and programs. Is this increase in wearable distribution a fad, or are these products truly impacting employee wellness program engagement and health care spending? This question is one of the many that continually surfaces from employers who are focused on employee health and well-being and the business investment in wellness programs.

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Topics: employee engagement, wellness, health care costs, wellness programs, UBA Health Plan Survey, Travis Horne, wearable fitness devices

The Impact of Wearable Devices in the Healthcare Industry

Posted by: Kaycee Eaton    Dec 13, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Wearable fitness devices have been a hot topic in health and wellness for a few years now, but what kind of impact have wearables really had on improving health outcomes? Wearable fitness devices can be used to track physical activity, sleep, heart rate, and even provide on-screen workouts. They are most often paired with a smartphone or website to track and store data. There has been a lot of hype about the potential to promote positive health outcomes through using wearables, but a recent study suggests they may not be impacting health as expected.

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Topics: wellness, LHD Benefit Advisors, UBA Health Plan Survey, Vital Incite, wearable fitness devices, weight loss program, wellness monitoring, Kaycee Eaton

VOI vs. ROI: A Business Case for Wellness

Posted by: Heather Mills, CWWPM    Dec 6, 2016 10:30:00 AM

VolkBell began the exploration into health and wellness about eight years ago. It was something our partners would say, “Just made sense.” At the time, health care costs were skyrocketing across the nation, particularly in our home state of Colorado, and the nation’s obesity rates were at an all-time high. In our research, we observed a basic principle: A population making healthier lifestyle choices equals lower lifestyle-related medical claims, which equals an overall reduction to the nation’s health care expenditure.

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Topics: wellness, employee benefits, Heather Mills, return on investment, VollkBell, value of investment, exercise, wellness consulting

The Shift Away from Health Risk Assessments

Posted by: Sierra Sullivan    Nov 29, 2016 11:02:48 AM

Historically, employers have utilized health risk assessments (HRAs) as one measurement tool in wellness program design. The main goals of an HRA are to assess individual health status and risk and provide feedback to participants on how to manage risk. Employers have traditionally relied on this type of assessment to evaluate the overall health risk of their population in order to develop appropriate wellness strategies.

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Topics: wellness, health risk assessment, LHD Benefit Advisors, UBA Health Plan Survey, biometric screening, population health strategy, outcome-based wellness programs, Sierra Sullivan

UBA Special Report: 2016 Trends in Employer Wellness Programs

Posted by: Jason Reeves    Nov 18, 2016 10:30:00 AM

The latest round of regulations in the area of wellness (what employers can and can’t do) is proving to be a hotly contested topic. Employers are eager to offer incentives as a way to both encourage wellness and also lower health care costs. However, employee privacy is on the line, and some argue, at risk. Even though many employers may never see the data collected, there is a philosophical debate brewing about what should – or should not – be permitted.

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Topics: wellness, wellness incentives, Group health plans, UBA Health Plan Survey, health care trends, Jason Reeves

Why Care About Diabetes and What You Can Do as an Employer

Posted by: Mary Delaney, MSPT, CWP    Sep 27, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Diabetes is an expensive disease: $322 billon in America! Costs are compounded because diabetes is the leading cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, lower limb amputation, and blindness, and also has connections with some cancers, arthritis, gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease. To add some perspective, consider these facts: Today, 3,835 Americans will be diagnosed with diabetes. Today, diabetes will cause 200 Americans to undergo an amputation, 136 to enter end-stage kidney disease treatment, and 1,795 to develop severe retinopathy that can lead to vision loss and blindness.

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Topics: wellness, Vital Incite, type 2 diabetes, disease management, Mary Delaney, diabetes, American Diabetes Association, type 1 diabetes