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Compliance Overview: Tobacco Surcharges — Legal Rules

As employers continue to show more interest in adding wellness programs to their employee benefit plans, they must also be cognizant of any federal and/or state laws that could impact the components of these programs. A popular choice is to offer a smoking cessation program which encourages employees to stop smoking or using tobacco products. While these programs can be extremely beneficial for an employee population, it is important that the program remains compliant under both the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employers can easily subject themselves to employee lawsuits or federal enforcement action if their plans are not structured with both federal and state compliance. This “Compliance Overview” provides an in-depth summary of required compliance and program specifics relating to surcharges and rewards for smoking cessation programs.

Apprehension about compliance adherence should not discourage employers from implementing a wellness or smoking cessation program. The benefits and savings that the two can have on your employee population can far outweigh the cost of implementation or compliance. If you are interested in implementing a wellness or smoking cessation program, please contact your Cowden consultant to assist you with determining what viable options are available within your current employee benefit plan structure.  

Contact your Cowden representative for more information on this or other compliance issues.

Read Compliance Overview