WFMY News 2 saw a Reuters article that says "companies are taking advantage of new rules to punish smokers and overweight workers." So we did some fact-checking.
So, is your company watching your waistline? In a way, yes.
David Smith, with the NC Association Health Underwriters, said when HIPAA was created in 1996, employers could not discriminate against employees. The had to have a bona fide wellness plan.
Smith said, about 10 years ago, companies could penalize someone who did not meet their plan by charging them 20% of their health insurance premium. The new regulations increase that to 30%.
Those regulation also say, if you have a medical condition that keeps you from meeting that standard in the plan, your employer must give you another way to show compliance.
How many companies use wellness plans? Some say it's more than 50%. Smith said that's mostly companies who have 1,000, or more employees and it's really about 20% of employers.
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