March 14, 2016
By: Jocelyn Samuels, Director, Office for Civil RightsWorkplace wellness programs provide an opportunity to improve employees’ health, while also helping to control health care spending. The recent increase in these types of programs also means that more employers are collecting employee health information as part of these programs. This may raise questions as to what employers are allowed to do with the information they collect for wellness program purposes through health risk assessments or other means, and what their responsibilities are to protect the information. While the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) does not apply to all workplace wellness programs, it does apply to programs offered as part of an employer-sponsored group health plan. It may not be obvious to you whether your employer’s workplace wellness program is or is not offered as part of a group health plan; if you have questions about protections for data collected as part of a workplace wellness program, you should ask your employer.
READ MORE: How HIPAA Applies to Certain Workplace Wellness Programs