Many factors are driving up healthcare expenditures, including unhealthy behaviors. Factors such as smoking and obesity contribute to a long list of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes – which in turn – increase costs.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion each year, including nearly $170 billion for direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity. Obesity also poses a serious problem. In fact, the annual medical costs of obesity may be as high as $147 billion. People who are obese end up expending nearly $1,500 more per person per year on health care.
CAHC has been a long-standing, vocal proponent of wellness programs and advocated for the inclusion of Section 2705(j) of the Public Health Service Act, as added by Section 1201 of the Affordable Care Act. We believe providing rewards to people for engaging in healthy behaviors and participating in preventive activities in both the group and individual markets can improve outcomes and lower health costs, and should be encouraged, not discouraged.
It is currently against the law, in most instances, for insurers to provide wellness incentives, such as premium discounts or rebates, for individuals who purchase health insurance in the individual market. CAHC encourages Congress to extend the discounts currently allowed in the small and large group markets to the individual market and to subscribers in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program.
Regulatory Comment Letters
CAHC Letter to the EEOC: The Proposed Rule to Amend the Regulations Implementing Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008 as they relate to Employer Wellness Programs - January 2016
CAHC letter to the EEOC on the proposed rule to amend the regulations and interpretive guidance implementing Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act as they relate to employer wellness programs