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Get ready for 'workplace wellness' in 2014


Can you say workplace wellness 10 times really fast without stumbling? Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Acti gives employers a mandate to increase the incentives for you to participate in health and fitness programs to lower insurance costs, the Washington Post reports.

"Beginning in January, the health-care law allows employers to tether as much as 50 percent of workers' insurance costs to their participation in wellness programs," WaPo writes.

Examples could include reimbursement for your cost of membership in a fitness center, or rewards for taking a health risk assessment. Programs could also reward you for meeting a target health goal, such as lowering your cholesterol or weight.

The mashup of employment and health can potentially make workplaces healthier and more fun, but it also raises concerns about the potential for discriminatory practicies. Your employer's wellness program should have a reasonable tie to good health or disease prevention, and should offer you an alternative way to qualify for the reward if you have a medical condition that otherwise prevents your participation.

In 2014, 30 percent of your insurance cost-sharing can potentially be tied to your participation in wellness programs, or 50 percent if you take part in a program to reduce or quit smoking, For more information.  



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