Wellness programs come in many different shapes and sizes and may be called something other than a wellness program.

These programs may provide very limited benefits such as educational health-related information, or they may be more extensive and involve biometric testing, individualized coaching, or even be part of a disease management program. Knowing what type of program you have is important because
which federal laws apply (or don’t apply) is largely determined by the type of program.

There are four common types of employer-sponsored wellness programs:

  1. General educational or participatory & not health plan-related
  2. Participatory & health plan-related
  3. Activity-only & health plan-related
  4. Outcome-based & health plan-related

In describing wellness programs, we refer to rewards that many programs provide for employees who participate in the program or achieve certain outcomes.

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