Monday, March 13, 2017

Employees who decline genetic testing could face penalties under proposed bill - The Washington Post

Employees who decline genetic testing could face penalties under proposed bill - The Washington Post



Employers could impose hefty penalties on employees who decline to
participate in genetic testing as part of workplace wellness programs if
a bill approved by a U.S. House committee this week becomes law.

In
general, employers don't have that power under existing federal laws,
which protect genetic privacy and nondiscrimination. But a bill passed
Wednesday by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce would
allow employers to get around those obstacles if the information is
collected as part of a workplace wellness program.

Such programs —
which offer workers a variety of carrots and sticks to monitor and
improve their health, such as lowering cholesterol — have become
increasingly popular with companies. Some offer discounts on health
insurance to employees who complete health-risk assessments. Others
might charge people more for smoking. Under the Affordable Care Act,
employers are allowed to discount health insurance premiums by up to 30
percent — and in some cases 50 percent — for employees who voluntarily
participate in a wellness program where they're required to meet certain
health targets.

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