August 3, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – A bill adopted by Massachusetts lawmakers would help employers launch workplace wellness programs.
The bill creates tax credits for employers that set up the programs, and it also requires health insurance premium discounts for small businesses with these programs, The Boston Globe reports.
The $60 million earmarked over the next four years for the Prevention and Wellness Trust, will be paid for by a tax on insurers and an assessment on some larger hospitals. Under the prevention program, communities, health care providers, regional-planning agencies, and health plans will vie for grants, to be awarded by the state’s Department of Public Health, to battle preventable illnesses. A coalition of consumer and public health groups praised the bill, but health insurers and hospital leaders are not keen on the assessments that will fund the health prevention programs, saying the fees will ultimately drive up costs, according to the news report.