My insurance company, United Healthcare, has a benefit whereby they provide a financial incentive for walking with a step counter hooked up to a watch.

You can earn financial rewards for out-of-pocket medical expenses just by moving. You'll feel better, too.

What happens if I am disabled, even temporarily, and can not get this financial incentive for medical reasons? Since insurance is paid for with premiums and I can't opt out of this insurance plan and receive the premium otherwise paid, does the ADA protect me against this this practice by my insurance company which unfairly and materially disadvantages me?

  • 2
    As the US Department of Labor says, "Wage garnishment is a legal procedure in which a person's earnings are required by court order to be withheld by an employer for the payment of a debt such as child support" - your health care premiums do not come as a result of 'wage garnishment'.
    – Jon Custer
    Nov 15, 2023 at 18:16
  • @JonCuster the company pays for it. if you refuse health care service you don't get the money back. is it material that it's not a result of a legal procedure? anyway i'll change the wording. Nov 15, 2023 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


No they are not a violation of ADA

Laws and regulations govern how health incentives can be used in policies in the US, primarily via the ACA and HIPAA. I promise the UHC knows these regulations and laws better than you or I ever will. The chance they are in violation is extremely low.

This site though dated seems to have a good grasp of the issues at hand.

This one discusses HIPAA ,which was passed in 2006.

The ACA is covered here.

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    this is not all what your source says. it says they're only assumed compliant with the ADA if "All similarly-situated individuals must be given an opportunity to qualify for the incentive (or avoid the penalty) and must have access to a reasonable alternative standard if appropriate. All plan material describing the program must disclose that an alternative standard is available." Nov 15, 2023 at 21:12
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    It further says, "EEOC has not confirmed that incentive-based wellness programs will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if they also conform to the HIPAA standards outlined in the final regulations." Nov 15, 2023 at 21:13
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    And it goes on to say, "Although the EEOC has not actively pursued health-contingent wellness programs to date (and has lost a handful of challenges to programs of this type in the federal courts), it has yet to provide any specific guidance about what level of incentive may be provided as a condition of participation in a wellness program before the program is rendered involuntary." Really this source is about as far removed from your answer as it can be. Nov 15, 2023 at 21:13
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    Noooooo, a health insurance company would never violate the law. Positively unheard-of.
    – bdb484
    Nov 16, 2023 at 2:49

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