Section 44: Health Connector Small Group Wellness Incentive Program

(a) There shall be a small group wellness incentive pilot program to expand the prevalence of employee wellness initiatives by small businesses. The program shall be administered by the board of the connector, in consultation with the department of public health. The program shall provide subsidies and technical assistance for eligible small groups to implement evidence-based employee health and wellness programs to improve employee health, decrease employer health costs, and increase productivity.

(b) An eligible small group shall be qualified to participate in the program if: (1) the eligible small group purchases group coverage through the connector; (2) the eligible small group is eligible for federal health care tax credits under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. 111–148; (3) the eligible small group offers an evidence-based, employee wellness program, that meets certain minimum criteria, as determined by the connector board, in collaboration with the department of public health; (4) the eligible small group meets certain minimum employee participation requirements in the qualified wellness program, as determined by the connector board, in collaboration with the department of public health;

(c) For eligible small groups participating in the program, the connector shall provide an annual subsidy not to exceed 5 per cent of eligible employer health care costs as calculated by the employer for credit by the federal government under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Aggregate expenditures made by the connector for the subsidy program shall not exceed $15,000,000 in any fiscal year. If the director determines that funds are insufficient to meet the projected costs of enrolling new eligible employers, the director shall impose a cap on enrollment in the program.

(d) The connector shall coordinate with the department of public health to provide technical assistance, including grant-writing assistance, to participating eligible small groups in order to maximize federal grant funding provided under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for the establishment of wellness initiatives by small employers.

(e) The connector shall seek to ensure that all necessary applications and filings coordinate with and conform to appropriate federal guidelines in order to minimize administrative burden on participating small groups.

(f) The connector shall report annually to the joint committee on community development and small business, the joint committee on health care financing and the house and senate committees on ways and means on the enrollment in the small business wellness incentive program and evaluate the impact of the program on expanding wellness initiatives for small groups.

(g) The connector shall promulgate regulations to implement this section.

Summary: 
Directs the Health Connector, in coordination with the Department of Public Health, to create a small group wellness pilot program to encourage small businesses to implement employee wellness incentive programs. The Health Connector shall provide funding and technical assistance to eligible qualified small businesses for program implementation. Funding for the subsidy program is limited and subject to state appropriation, so the Health Connector may cap enrollment in the program if funds are insufficient to meet the costs of enrolling new employers.

The Health Connector must establish regulations necessary to implement this program and annually report to the legislature on the enrollment and impact of small group wellness incentive programs.