Employers who use financial incentives to motivate employees to complete health risk appraisals as part of their group health plans can breathe a little easier. Relying on the ADA’s "safe harbor" for insurance practices, a Florida federal district court has rejected a class action lawsuit challenging Broward County’s use of a $20 surcharge to motivate completion of a health risk appraisal.
As we previously reported, this case is extremely important for many employers. Health risk appraisals often are the cornerstones of wellness programs and financial incentives are critically important tools to drive employee participation and, in turn, outcomes.
Because the Court found that the employer’s actions were protected by the ADA’s safe harbor provisions, it did not decide the employer’s alternative argument that the wellness program was a voluntary wellness program under the ADA.