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With Obesity Key Driver of Rising Health Care Costs, National Business Group on Health Urges Tax Code Changes
Date:5/7/2009

lth and Wellness programs to be an investment in the overall health, engagement and productivity of its employees, which is ultimately good for the business," said Dr. Brent Pawlecki.

In 2001, Pitney Bowes created Health University to improve employee health and maintain lower-than-average cost trend. Threatened with an aging workforce and increased health risk and claim costs, Pitney Bowes' executive leadership realized that, left unchecked, health issues could overwhelm the corporation. Pitney Bowes embarked on a clearly defined strategy to focus on preventing obesity, maintain healthy weight, increase physical activity, and to include not only workers, but their families as well.

NBGH Urges Tax Policy Changes to Encourage Health & Wellness

NBGH believes that changes in tax policy are urgently needed to maximize employer adoption and increase employee participation in worksite health and wellness programs. Currently, the tax code treats expenses for medical care and treatment of disease favorably, but not activities and programs designed to prevent disease and maintain health. This treatment of wellness, fitness, health promotion, and weight management programs for employees poses a barrier and disincentive to more comprehensive employer-sponsored wellness programs. The National Business Group on Health is calling on Congress and the Administration to act on the following proposed changes:

  • Employer contributions toward employee expenses for health and wellness activities, programs and purchases should be excludable from employees' incomes for tax purposes;
  • Employees should be able to use pre-tax dollars (including through Section 125 cafeteria plans, HSAs and FSAs) to pay for their share of health and wellness activities, programs, and purchases including for fitness, nutrition, exercise and weight-management programs; and
  • Pe
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SOURCE National Business Group on Health
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