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GINA Regulations and Wellness Programs for Small Businesses

By Minara El-Rahman | Last updated on

Small business owners may have to rethink their wellness rewards programs because of new rules and regulations under the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act; which is known as GINA.

GINA was introduced as a safeguard to protect against employers and health insurers collecting genetic information from individuals and using it to make decisions about health coverage, hiring and firing and promotions.

However, lawmakers have made it very clear that GINA will influence the way employers conduct their wellness rewards programs.

According to the Wall Street Journal: "Employers seeking to promote wellness in the workplace may have to rethink their rewards programs - or run the risk of breaking new federal rules protecting individuals' genetic information."

Small business owners who may have started offering any incentives for employees to participate in a health risk assessment (HRAs) that contains questions that ask about family medical history could be breaking the law now.

Small business owners who have health risk assessments that are not in compliance will face harsh penalties. Even if you are business owner that is unintentionally non compliant, you can be slapped with fines that are up to $500,000.

With small business owners, every penny counts. So how can you ensure that you are compliant with GINA?

You can remove questions on family medical history from HRAs when a financial incentive is being offered, or you can split the questionnaire in two and only offer a reward for the part that doesn't solicit family information.

Under GINA, employers can only ask workers to voluntarily fill out the second section once they've enrolled in the health plan.

Help protect yourself and still treat your employees well by making sure that you are GINA compliant.

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