There are many barriers to healthcare for the general population that has been documented throughout the years, with one particularly affected group being individuals with disabilities. One identified healthcare barrier for individuals with disabilities is the inability to gain access to the healthcare system through health insurance. While many attempts have been made to resolve this issue, serious problems have yet to be resolved. The Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) attempted to solve the issue by expanding Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996’s (HIPAA) current regulations on employee wellness programs. The relevant regulations govern employee wellness programs to allow employers to offer their employees greater incentives for meeting employer-defined health targets. This expansion has an adverse effect because it disadvantages groups like individuals with disabilities by penalizing them through higher premiums or cost sharing when they are unable to meet wellness targets.
This article argues PPACA’s requirement for employee wellness programs provides additional barriers to healthcare insurance for individuals with disabilities. Part I of this Comment describes how the healthcare industry discriminates against individuals with disabilities by continuing to deny them meaningful access to healthcare through payment of higher premiums. Part II examines how the wellness program provision allows employers to shift the cost of medical coverage to the employee for failure to participate in the wellness program. Part III summarizes how the ADA’s reasonable requirement places an obligation on employers to make reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities, which will improve the health of working individuals with disabilities. Part IV concludes with suggestions for further reform.
Amy B. Cheng,
Expansion of Employee Wellness Programs Under PPACA Creates Additional Barriers to Healthcare Insurance for Individuals with Disabilities,
29 J.L. & Health
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/jlh/vol29/iss2/6