[ Monday, February 11, 2008 ]
Another part of HIPAA:
You may not be aware of it, but there are a couple of other parts of HIPAA, in addition to the privacy and security parts. One that I occasionally talk about is portability. But there's also a non-discrimination part. Basically, health plans can't discriminate against a potential enrollee due to that person's health status. Similarly to the way portability took out pre-existing condition exclusions, there is still a concern that health plans will try to cherry-pick healthy enrollees and punish those who will likely cost the insurer more.
What about "wellness" plans, where an insurer rewards a beneficiary if the beneficiary does healthy things, like exercising, quitting smoking, and controlling blood pressure and diabetes? Obviously we want to encourage those activities, but the plans must make sure they don't step over the line and engage in tactics to punish or exclude those who are unhealthy through no fault of their own. As this article
discusses, wellness plans can be done, but if you do one, make sure it works within all of the required parameters.
UPDATE: Speaking of which, here's an article
on one employer (a healthcare system, in fact) that tried to roll out a tough wellness plan, with some substantial penalties, but had to retreat.
Jeff [8:57 AM]
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