KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Small Businesses Look For Wellness Grants In Health Reform Law

Provisions in the new health reform law offer aid and cash to small businesses that encourage employees to be fitter and healthier, but the plans aren't without their own controversy, CNN Money reports.

"Starting next year, the law authorizes grants totaling $200 million over five years for small companies that start wellness programs focused on efforts such as nutrition, smoking cessation, physical fitness and stress management. Companies with fewer than 100 employees qualify for the grants, which will be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, but only new wellness initiatives - those launched after March 23, 2010, the date the heath reform bill was enacted - are eligible." In addition, starting in 2014, employers can offer health insurance coverage reward payments to workers who meet health benchmarks. Some groups see this as a positive while others are concerned about tying financial incentives via insurance discounts to prevention programs (Stinson, 5/12).

In a separate story, CNN Money details the reform law's provision to expand coverage to young adults by allowing them to remain on their parents' health insurance plan. "Roughly 30 percent of young adults up to age 26 have no health insurance at all. That's three times the rate of uninsured children, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS estimates that about 1.2 million young adults will elect to stay on a parent's health plan in 2011 as a result of the reform. ... Under-26 children who were previously dropped from dependent coverage will also be able to re-enroll as long as they don't have access to an employer-sponsored plan" (Pepitone, 5/12).

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