(CNNMoney.com) - Want to reward - or bribe - your workers for healthy lifestyle choices? Provisions in the new reform law offer aid, and even some cash, to small businesses that run wellness and prevention programs for their employees.
Starting next year, the law authorizes grants totaling $200 million over five years for small companies that start wellness programs focused on efforts such as nutrition, smoking cessation, physical fitness and stress management. Companies with fewer than 100 employees qualify for the grants, which will be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, but only new wellness initiatives - those launched after March 23, 2010, the date the heath reform bill was enacted - are eligible.
The law has another boon for prevention efforts: Beginning in 2014, employers will be able to offer reward payments of up to 30% of the cost of insurance coverage (up from the current 20%) to workers who participate in such programs and meet certain health-related benchmarks.
Business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business have opposed the most prominent aspects of President Obama's health care reform, while labor unions and organizations like AARP have been among its biggest cheerleaders. But on the discount provision, the two sides switch teams.