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How Wellness Programs Might Change Under Trump

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Coventry, RI – November 15, 2016

How Wellness Programs Might Change Under Trump

It’s a time of great change – for the country and our healthcare system. As the world waits to see what new leadership will mean for our future, employers, healthcare providers, and wellness practitioners are considering the future of employee health policy.  

Preventure, a leading employee health and well-being company based in Coventry, RI, is watching with great interest to see what Donald Trump’s surprising election victory could mean for the corporate health and wellness industry.

To the extent that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is tied to the industry, some changes can be expected. On the campaign trail, President-elect Trump vowed to repeal the ACA within his first 100 days in office, although his stated intentions since Nov. 8 have been less emphatic.

“We really don’t know yet how his presidency will affect our business, but certainly the renewed focus on healthcare bodes well,” said Laura Walmsley, Chief Client Officer at Preventure. “Whenever people are talking about being healthier, it’s a good thing – both for individuals and employers.”

Workplace health and well-being programs, such as those offered by Preventure, have become increasingly popular with employers seeking to offer quality employee health coverage at a reasonable cost. The programs identify health risks, then encourage employees to address those risks through lifestyle changes that include improved eating habits, increased physical activity and stress management.

Most wellness programs use financial incentives to engage employees. There are generally two types of incentive plans, including those that reward employees just for participating in the program, and “outcomes-based” plans, in which employees earn an incentive by achieving certain health milestones.

The ACA generally prohibits group health plans from charging different premiums or imposing different deductibles based on a health factor. Outcomes-based wellness programs, which are allowed under the ACA, might be considered an exception because they offer rewards for achieving health goals. Incentives often include insurance premium discounts or health savings account contributions.

There are a number of restrictions on outcomes-based programs. For example, the programs must be made available to all employees. Also, the law sets limits on outcomes-based program incentives. They cannot exceed 30 percent of the cost of healthcare coverage, or up to 50 percent for programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use.

In addition, the ACA requires that programs not discriminate against employees for whom participation in outcomes-based programs might be unreasonably difficult or medically inadvisable. For those people, employers must provide an alternate means to qualify for the same incentive.

Those incentive limits, and other requirements, might no longer apply if the ACA is repealed.

Walmsley said Preventure already offered alternate incentive paths for employees who were unable to comply with outcomes-based incentive requirements. “So when the ACA was passed, we really didn’t need to change our way of doing business,” she said.

On the campaign trail, Trump advocated tax-free health savings accounts for people with high-deductible plans. HSA contributions have been a popular method used by employers to reward employees for making healthy lifestyle changes.

Trump also called for insurance companies to be able to compete for customers across state lines, which could help bring down the cost of employee-sponsored health plans.

“As a leader in the workplace wellness industry, Preventure will continue to monitor this situation as it develops in the months ahead, and will adjust and adapt our programs accordingly on behalf of our clients,” said Preventure CEO Mark Correia.

About Preventure

Preventure is a global provider of corporate wellness and health improvement programs specializing in comprehensive fitness and wellness benefits designed to improve health and productivity and decrease healthcare costs. Preventure helps corporations and health insurers understand, predict and control health risks and related costs. For more information, contact Taylor Butzbach at 401-385-3304 or tbutzbach@preventure.com. Visit Preventure online at www.preventure.com.

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