APHA submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday on a key rule in the Affordable Care Act that provides discounts to workplace wellness programs to workers if they meet certain health and fitness benchmarks such as cholesterol and BMI.

The law raises the maximum reward for participating in certain employer-based wellness programs from 20 to 30 percent of the cost of coverage and up to 50 percent for participating in tobacco prevention or cessation programs. APHA is supportive of employee incentives and programs that encourage wellness as long as the incentives – and the wellness programs themselves – are nondiscriminatory.

“We have some concerns about incentives that alter employees’ costs of health insurance, and while we appreciate the effort made in this proposed regulation to offer more clarity on these and other incentive programs, we believe further clarifications are needed, as well as a commitment to evaluation of such programs,” wrote Georges Benjamin, MD, APHA’s executive director, in a letter sent to HHS.

Among its set of comments, the Association expressed support for raising the maximum 50 percent discount for participation in tobacco prevention or cessation programs. However, it requests further clarification on how quickly employees will receive their reward after qualifying for it and is concerned that incentives could be tied to insurance rates.

Comments on the rule are due today, Jan 25. Read APHA’s full letter to HHS.