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Health Care Reform: DoL, HHS, IRS Wellness Programs Proposed Rules

Federal Register, November 26, 2012, Page 70642-70620


Department of the Treasury, Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services


Notice of proposed rulemaking


This document proposes amendments to regulations, consistent with the Affordable Care Act, regarding nondiscriminatory wellness programs in group health coverage. Specifically, these proposed regulations would increase the maximum permissible reward under a health-contingent wellness program offered in connection with a group health plan (and any related health insurance coverage) from 20 percent to 30 percent of the cost of coverage. The proposed regulations would further increase the maximum permissible reward to 50 percent for wellness programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use. These regulations also include other proposed clarifications regarding the reasonable design of health-contingent wellness programs and the reasonable alternatives they must offer in order to avoid prohibited discrimination.


Comments are due on or before January 25, 2013.


Written comments may be submitted to the Department of Labor as specified below. Any comment that is submitted will be shared with the other Departments and will also be made available to the public. Warning: Do not include any personally identifiable information (such as name, address, or other contact information) or confidential business information that you do not want publicly disclosed. All comments may be posted on the Internet and can be retrieved by most Internet search engines. No deletions, modifications, or redactions will be made to the comments received, as they are public records. Comments may be submitted anonymously. Comments, identified by ‘‘Wellness Programs’’, may be submitted by one of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Mail or Hand Delivery: Office of Health Plan Standards and Compliance Assistance, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Room N–5653, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, Attention: Wellness Programs. Comments received will be posted without change to and, and available for public inspection at the Public Disclosure Room, N–1513, Employee Benefits Security Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, including any personal information provided.

Further Information

Amy Turner or Beth Baum, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor, at (202) 693–8335; Karen Levin, Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury, at (202) 622–6080; or Jacob Ackerman, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services, at (410) 786–1565. Customer Service Information: Individuals interested in obtaining information from the Department of Labor concerning employment-based health coverage laws may call the EBSA Toll-Free Hotline at 1–866–444–EBSA (3272) or visit the Department of Labor’s Web site ( In addition, information from HHS on private health insurance for consumers can be found on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Web site ( and information on health reform can be found at