Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wellness Wierdness

Wellness programs do save big bucks on insurance premiums, which I know is very important. The healthier we are, the fewer sick days we take, the fewer prescription medications we must have, the better workers we are. But the actual doing of the programs - it's another story. When I first heard of the "webinar" on health incentives to be held two days this week, I surmised that at some point we would be taxed on something. I was not wrong.

Today I listened in on a webinar - a conference call - about "standard" and non-standard" incentives and the definition of de minimis, a term which I had never heard before. And yes, now cash and cash equivalent incentives (i.e., gift cards) are Taxable! Well, naturally. Now we are going to get our taxes "lowered" but we are going to be taxed on trying to stay well. (Does that do something to anyone's "blood pressure?") For example, if we have incentives in increasing value over the course of several months, the "big" winner needs to know that value will show up on his or her W-2 form. It's just aggravating. Non-cash incentives less than $25 are de minimis and seems IRS doesn't care if you report those or not. (Yet.) So, perhaps we will keep all incentives to say the price of a McDonald's Big and Tasty, or a coupon book for tiny Frosty's at Wendy's. Oh, sorry. Not healthy. I won't even go into standard and non-standard based programs. This is just a very minute summary of what I'm sure takes up pages and pages in the Federal Register.

I'll just let this seep and perolate for a bit and then go on with the program.

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