Kristin Madison11.9.16 — With new ADA regulations regarding wellness programs going into effect on January 1, Professor Kristin Madison of Northeastern University School of Law articulates the thorny issues involved in an article released today by Health Affairs. In “Addressing Risks of Employer Involvement in Creating a Culture of Health,” which appears in “Culture of Health,” a special November issue of the journal, Madison argues that while employers are well-situated to contribute to a culture of health in a variety of ways, including through workplace wellness programs, involving incentives can impose heavy financial burdens on some employees.

“There are concerns that the wellness programs may threaten health insurance affordability and put pressure on employees to reveal health information that might foster stigma or lead to employment discrimination,” says Madison, who notes that three statutes, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, have sought to address these risks while preserving a role for employers in promoting wellness.

But many are critical of the wellness programs, including AARP, which recently filed a lawsuit arguing that the programs violate anti-discrimination laws aimed at protecting workers’ medical information.

In her Health Affairs article, Madison explains the differing approaches of these statutes and emphasizes the importance of collecting and analyzing evidence on the programs’ effects in order to assess whether this fragmented regulatory regime has struck the right balance.

Tomorrow, November 10, 2016, Madison will speak at a Health Affairs briefing on a “Culture of Health” at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. The event is open to the public and begins at 9 a.m.

About Health Affairs
Health Affairs is the leading journal of health policy thought and research. The peer-reviewed journal was founded in 1981 under the aegis of Project HOPE, a nonprofit international health education organization. Health Affairsexplores health policy issues of current concern in domestic and international spheres. Its mission is to serve as a high-level, nonpartisan forum to promote analysis and discussion on improving health and health care, and to address such issues as cost, quality, and access.

About Northeastern University School of Law
The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country and is a national leader in legal education reform. Founded with cooperative legal education as the cornerstone of its program, Northeastern guarantees its students an unparalleled full year of practical legal work. All students participate in four, full-time legal placements, and can choose from the more than 900 employers worldwide participating in the school’s signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. The future of legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experience to successfully practice law.