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How to ignore the 2021 EEOC wellness incentive limits

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

Due to the unpopularity of workplace screening (according to WillisTowersWatson, below), the draft 2021 EEOC rules limiting incentives for participation programs to “de minimis” could mean the end of those programs. Unlike Quizzify, which usually gets great participation with modest incentives, most employees won’t submit to screenings and health risk assessments for less than $100. It is not clear whether the limit will even be that high. The IRS “de minimis” limit is much lower.

For employees who are covered by your group health plan, the opposite is the case for outcomes-based programs, whether activity-based or clinical. Once the new rules are official, you can make employees pay up to 30% of the total spend if they don’t lose enough weight, for example. The unfortunate thing about outcomes-based programs is that almost none of them work. US Preventive Medicine is the only one to achieve validation through the Validation Institute for its outcomes. Others have been noted for the opposite – harming employees, fabricating outcomes, and causing weight gain (on the vendor’s own employees, in addition to their customer’s).

Further, employees don’t like these programs. Consider the Net Promoter Score for most consumer-facing industries. These are calculated on a scale of -100 to 100. The worst performer of any industry is, not surprisingly, TV and internet services. The average for that industry is +2. Even so, we have Comcast and I love it. If you want to watch a show — say, Billions— you just literally say “Billions” and <presto> the show appears on your screen. Plus Comcast’s picture quality is now so sharp that every time Paul Giamatti realizes that Damian Lewis has outsmarted him again, you can almost see the steam coming out of his ears.

Wellness, on the other hand…

In other words, most employees would prefer to sit around waiting for The Cable Guy than participate in workplace screenings.

Finally, what will you do in the age of COVID? Make employees go to their own doctor at considerable expense? The New England Journal of Medicine says doctors are violating their Hippocratic Oaths by reporting on employees who aren’t losing weight, knowing they will be penalized. Most PCPs won’t be willing to turn on their patients like that.

What if we told you Quizzify could solve all four of these problems?

(1) Maintain your current participation-based incentive structure despite the new rules

(2) Make an outcomes-based program palatable to employees

(3) Achieve immediate savings

(4) Be COVID-friendly

Read on.


Quizzify lets you maintain your current incentive structure no matter what the rules say.

Offering Quizzify as a choice vs. screens and risk assessments takes the latter out of the whole discussion about whether they are “voluntary” or not. Clearly, if a choice of not doing screens is offered, and the choice involves no “clinical inquiries or exams” (ADA language), then screens are voluntary.

Here is what a typical marketing flyer might look like. Note that it encourages the minority of employees for whom screens might be valuable to submit to them. Far be it from us to discourage useful screens. Quite the opposite. We urge people to be screened according to US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines.

The rest of the population would be better served being educated about health issues.

No need to take our word for this. Minus a small deductible and co-pay, we fully indemnify our customers who do this.


Quizzify makes outcomes-based programs palatable

Too much wellness, like too much of anything, can create the opposite result. This journal article shows how they can make employees unhealthier. Wellsteps is notorious for this, as their own calculations showed a dramatic deterioration in employee health.

Further, the administrative headaches can be a time sink. Between processing appeals, policing cheaters, and arranging “reasonable alternatives,” it’s almost not worth the effort to collect/withhold extra money from disgruntled and/or demoralized employees. And corporations should not be weight-shaming their employees.

But if the reasonable alternative – or, better yes, the program itself – were employee health education quizzes, you would get vastly greater uptake of these programs. Employees love Quizzify, guaranteed. Even Ron Goetzel, the leading promoter of traditional wellness programs, said Quizzify was “very clever and lots of fun.”

Since the program is outcomes-based, employees would have to achieve a certain score on these quizzes. But there is no need to police cheating because Quizzify encourages employees to cheat. That’s how they learn. Acknowledging and channeling human nature is a much wiser choice than denying and making rules against it.

If you don’t think employees are lying and cheating today, compare your HRA results to national averages. Do 70% admit to drinking, 10% heavily? Do 17% admit to smoking? 10% to being depressed? We didn’t think so. Instead of a culture of health, you may be creating a culture of deceit. Quizzify doesn’t ask personal questions, so there is no opportunity to deceive anyone.


You can save money immediately with Quizzify

As compared to screening, and especially as compared to the effort and expense required to arrange a “reasonable alternative,” Quizzify is very affordable. An entire set of quizzes costs much less than one screening.

This has not escaped notice of our partner wellness vendors. Those who use some variation of the poster above do indeed generate higher participation and higher profits...while increasing employee satisfaction.


Quizzify is all about COVID

It’s not just that Quizzify is completely digitized, though that too. So no need to expose employees to additional contacts.

More importantly, Quizzify offers a wide range of COVID questions, designed to increase understanding reduce transmission.

Think employees know everything about COVID? Think again. Would they recognize the symptoms in this question?


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