Dallas, Texas (WiredPRNews.com) — To combat rising health care costs, many employers have created “wellness programs.” A wellness program promotes good health and encourages employees to live healthy lifestyles. Because employees’ general health affects premium rates, employers hope to motivate employees to get healthy and stay healthy in the hopes that a sound work force will lead to reduced health care costs for employers.

Employers have created wellness programs with diverse options. For example, an employer may offer: (1) annual health assessments; (2) educational programs to address weight control, smoking cessation, or cholesterol reduction; (3) subsidized gym memberships; (4) on-site clinic services; and/or (5) flu shot programs. Wellness program proponents believe that, in addition to reducing health care costs, these programs will decrease disabilities and work-related injuries and increase work performance and employees’ morale.

But risks for employers exist. Opponents question just how far an employer can go towards mandating wellness for its employees. To that end, wellness programs must be carefully crafted to avoid violating state and federal laws, such as those addressing age, disability, and/or genetic information discrimination, privacy rights, or the confidentiality of an employee’s medical information.

To discuss a wellness program’s legality with an employment lawyer or to seek assistance in creating a wellness program, please contact the employment lawyers at Clouse Dunn Khoshbin LLP at [email protected]

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