The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently published a proposed rule to amend Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) as it relates to employer wellness programs that are part of group health plans. Title II of GINA restricts how employers may collect and disclose genetic information and prohibits employers from using genetic information in employment decisions. EEOC’s prior GINA regulations prohibit employers from offering incentives in return for “genetic information,” which includes information about the “manifestation of a disease or disorder in family members of an individual.”
The proposed rule is consistent with the EEOC proposed regulations published on April 20, 2015 regarding the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to employer wellness programs (for more information on this proposed regulation, see our ML BeneBits post from October 7).
The proposed rule provides clarification on the following points:
- An employer may offer, as part of its health plan, a limited incentive—in the form of a reward or penalty (financial or in-kind)—to an employee whose spouse (i) is covered under the employee’s health plan; (ii) receives health or genetic services offered by the employer, including as part of a wellness program; and (iii) voluntarily provides information about his or her current or past health status as part of a health risk assessment, which may include a medical questionnaire, medical examination (e.g., blood pressure or blood test to detect high cholesterol or high glucose levels).