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Perspective on Legalities of Starting a Wellness Program

Health care attorney Jeanne Helton contributed as an expert source to the Jacksonville Business Journal story, “Reducing obesity statewide could save $34B over next 17 years.”

Excerpts from the story:

Jeanne Helton, a shareholder at Smith, Hulsey & Busey in Jacksonville, said she has fielded inquiries from companies seeking advice on the legalities of starting a wellness program for about two years.

“You certainly want to incentivize employees to be healthier because it reduces health costs and improves productivity,” Helton said. “But you don?t want to buy a lawsuit by offering something to an employee who takes it the wrong way and feels their privacy was invaded or that they were forced into a program they don?t want to participate in.”

Until now, Helton’s advice was to steer clear of programs with incentives tied to health insurance plans and instead offer rewards such as a day off for participation.

But the Affordable Care Act, she said, may make it easier for employers to link wellness programs with incentives such as lower premiums.

But even with regulations that make it easier to implement a wellness program, it’s not going to be simple, because much of the success is dependent on individuals.


Subscribers to the Jacksonville Business Journal can read the full story here.

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