Under a new proposed H.R. bill, employers may be able to strongly encourage employees to participate in genetic testing. H.R. 1313, entitled the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, was recently approved by a House of Representatives committee and would allow employers to ask about family medical history and request genetic information as part of a wellness program.
H.R. 1313 accomplishes this by providing that aspects of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act – better known as “GINA” – do not apply to employer-sponsored wellness programs. Should H.R. 1313 become signed into law, employers would be able to charge employees who decline to provide genetic information up to 30 percent more for health coverage. This is in part due to a 2016 decision by the EEOC that found it is acceptable under the ACA for employers to upcharge employees who do not participate in “voluntary” wellness programs.
H.R. 1313 has not been approved by either Congress or the House, but the bill would have a huge impact on wellness programs if it becomes law. Stay tuned for future posts related to developments in this area.