Finance News & Insights

Wellness legislation means savings

Congress wants employees nationwide to be healthy, and a current Senate bill will make it a whole lot cheaper for companies to get them there.

If your company’s looking to start a wellness program or already has one off the ground, pending legislation will help offset the costs of starting and running one by granting substantial tax breaks.

Dubbed the Healthy Workforce Act, the Senate bill proposes to issue a tax credit for 50% of the cost of a newly-created, qualified employer health program. Companies will receive up to a $200 tax credit for the first 200 employees enrolled and up to $100 for additional employees.

To qualify for the full $200/$100 credit for each employee, a company’s wellness program must feature:

  • Employee educational efforts (targeted mailings, online resources, etc.)
  • Behavioral change/assistance programs for issues like smoking cessation and weight management
  • Health risk assessments, and
  • “Meaningful” participation incentives (most notably, lower co-pays).

If the bill is signed, companies that design and launch a new program will be able to claim the tax credit for 10 years after its start. But there’s good news for companies who’ve already made an effort: Existing wellness initiatives can qualify for 3 years of tax credits, but additional years will be granted by enhancing programs.

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