Published: January 30, 2013
January 24, 2013
Dear Sir or Madam:
The Business Roundtable (BRT) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. Companies. Together, our members’ companies employ more than 16 million individuals and provide health care coverage to nearly 40 million American workers, retirees, and their families. BRT is invested in addressing health care costs that hamper essential economic growth. For that reason, BRT has been critically engaged on the issue of health care reform and has an interest in seeing an implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that provides employers with the flexibility they need to continue providing critical benefits to employees and their families.
The Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”), the Department of Labor (“DOL”), and the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) (collectively, the Departments) have requested comment on the notice of proposed rulemaking dated November 26, 2012, regarding incentives for nondiscriminatory wellness programs in group health plans. The proposal would, consistent with the ACA, as amended:
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;
Further increase the maximum permissible reward to 50 percent for wellness programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use;
Refine the definition of tobacco use;
Clarify the rules regarding the reasonable design of health-contingent wellness programs and the reasonable alternatives they must offer in order to avoid prohibited discrimination; and
Permit greater flexibility for employers by removing the requirement of apportionment of rewards.
BRT appreciates the opportunity to submit comments in response to the Departments’ proposed regulations (the “Guidance”). BRT strongly supports the direction of the proposals contained within the Guidance and applauds the Departments for their coordinated efforts and recognition of the crucial need for employer flexibility. BRT encourages the Departments to incorporate into any final rule or future guidance the recommendations presented in the attached letter.