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Agencies Clarify How Employers Can Charge COVID-19 Vaccine Premium Incentives

On October 4, 2021, the US Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services issued guidance regarding the application of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) wellness rules to vaccine-related premium surcharges and discounts, clarifying that employers may charge vaccine premium incentives if they adhere to the requirements of activity-only health-contingent programs.

Employers have grown more interested in exploring incentives designed to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates among employees. Some employers have announced plans to charge unvaccinated employees higher contributions for health coverage than vaccinated employees, while some have been considering other options, such as excluding coverage for COVID-related illnesses, charging higher cost-sharing for COVID-19-related illnesses and offering more generous plan options to employees who are vaccinated.

Read more here.

Premium Surcharges for the Unvaccinated Are Lawful Within Limits

Many plan administrators expressed bewilderment at the Biden administration’s recent guidance to limit vaccine incentive or surcharge programs for unvaccinated plan participants. According to this SHRM article, which features insight from McDermott Partner Judith Wethall, any premium surcharges must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPPA) nondiscrimination rules. HIPPA nondiscrimination rules allow for participatory and health-contingent permissible wellness programs.

Read more here.

Red Tape, Legal Risk Douse Fervor for Surcharges on Unvaccinated

Companies curious about a major airline’s unvaccinated healthcare premium surcharge are discovering that it may be too complex to copy. The airline recently announced that unvaccinated employees enrolled in the company’s health plan would see a $200 monthly surcharge. In this Bloomberg Law article, McDermott Partner Judith Wethall said the compliance hurdles are “tricky and kind of dilute the message.”

Access the article.

Save the Date: Privacy and Data Protection Webcast Series

In the quickly changing regulatory environment of digital privacy, an organization’s data privacy stakeholders need to understand the latest legal developments and risks their organizations face—or will face—globally.

McDermott Will & Emery is pleased to offer this complimentary three-part webcast series for professionals with data privacy responsibilities that will take a look at the legal developments in 2012 and provide a sneak peek at what new regulations may come in 2013.

Save the Date

Part I. U.S. Office for Civil Rights Finalizes Amendments to HIPAA Regulations to Implement HITECH Act
Following the issuance of regulations

Part II. Hot Topics in Workplace Privacy around the Globe
September 20, 2012

Part III. Data Privacy Year in Review
December 6, 2012

Further information on each webcast is forthcoming.

For more information, please contact McDermott Events.