The AARC has joined more than 50 other organizations in signing on to a letter to the commissioners of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to support patients’ rights. The letter urges them to withdraw a proposed rule that would weaken the right of patients to keep their health information private.
The rule would redefine the term “voluntary” as used in current laws aimed at protecting health privacy to mean that employers could offer employees incentives for participating in wellness programs, or penalize them up to 30% of the total cost of employee health insurance coverage if they decline to participate.
“Redefining voluntary in this way forces individuals to turn over sensitive disability and health related information to their employers, making it harder to prevent employment discrimination against a group that already has the lowest employment rates of any group tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” notes the letter. “Individuals ought not to be subject to steep financial pressure from their health plans or employers to disclose their or their families’ genetic and medical information.”