Under the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, introducedin the House of Representatives in March 2017 (H.R. 1313),employers may be able to encourage employees to provideidentifiable genetic information and family medical history morestrongly than ever before.

The bill, approved by a House of Representatives committee,would allow employers to ask about family medical history andrequest genetic information as part of a wellness program, without running afoul of thecurrent restrictions on these types of questions.

Background on genetic testing in wellness programs

By way of background, the Health Insurance Portability andAccountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the amendments made to it bythe Affordable Care Act (ACA) provide an exception to the generalprohibition on discrimination against individual participants andbeneficiaries in eligibility, benefits or premiums based on ahealth factor.

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