Cover: Can We Legally Pay People for Being Good?

Can We Legally Pay People for Being Good?

A Review of Current Federal and State Law on Wellness Program Incentives

Published in: Inquiry, v. 49, no. 3, Fall 2012, p. 268-277

Posted on rand.org Nov 1, 2012

by Lisa Klautzer, Soeren Mattke, Michael D. Greenberg

Incentives to participate in wellness programs or reach health-related targets are becoming popular, but might expose employers and insurers to litigation risk because incentives might violate state and federal insurance, anti-discrimination, or privacy laws. This paper reviews relevant state and federal law, as well as case law and secondary literature. Findings suggest that convergence of state and federal law and recent court decisions have clarified the range of permissible incentives so that litigation risk under bona fide wellness programs seems limited.

This report is part of the RAND external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.