The Employee Benefits Security Administration has come out with guidance aimed at sponsors of employer-sponsored health promotion and disease prevention initiatives.
EBSA, an arm of the U.S. Labor Department, published the guidance, given in Field Assistance Bulletin Number 2008-02, in response to questions about which programs must comply with the department’s new wellness program regulations and how sponsors can tell whether a program is complying.
For plans with plan years that correspond to the ordinary calendar year, the new regulations began to apply Jan. 1, Daniel Maguire, EBSA health plan standards director, writes in the bulletin.
When deciding whether a program is a “wellness program” for purposes of complying with the new regulations, “ignore the labels,” Maguire writes. “Wellness programs can be called many things. Other common names include: disease management programs, smoking cessation programs and case management programs.”