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In recent years, employers have increasingly turned to wellness programs as a tool to help improve employee health and hopefully reduce or limit health care expenditures over time. In fact, according to a 2013 Rand Health study, about 50 percent of U.S. employers offer wellness programs to their employees, and the number has been on the rise. While the precise effectiveness of these programs has been the subject of debate, there is no debate that the current legal environment requires careful attention to program design in order to avoid legal pitfalls.  This is because there are a variety of federal laws, agencies and evolving regulations that impact an employer’s wellness program. 

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