Patricia Wagner, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice in the Washington, DC, office, was quoted in an article about launching health and wellness programs.

According to the article, workplace wellness initiatives are meant to promote healthy behaviors among employees and lower costs for employers, but navigating legal issues to create the best possible program sometimes requires a delicate balancing act by plan sponsors.

"There is tons of research that shows that wellness programs can lower overall costs of healthcare," said Wagner. "I think the real sticking point to wellness programs right now is actually the issues that came up with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act GINA laws."

Wagner said that there are two options: eliminate the incentives for filling out HRAs or create a two-tier HRA by removing genetic questions from the first survey.

"Companies are struggling with how to deal with this," Wagner said. "The best way is to pull out the genetic information questions from the initial HRA, get the information and then, as you are developing a wellness program for that individual, get more information."

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