Wellness programs and the need for privacy protections: background research and fact sheets

Existing laws governing wellness programs apply unevenly depending on the structure and operator of the wellness program. Although wellness programs are marketed as an avenue to wellness, these programs are not necessarily evidence-based and their efficacy is questionable. Because of that, the deal being made – relinquish some privacy in exchange for improved wellness and incentives – is one-sided. It may be that the only party guaranteed to gain from wellness programs are those that can benefit from the collected data.

Consumer Reports supports legislation that assures transparency and fairness in the marketplace. To that end, we are advocating for reasonable guardrails so consumers who choose to participate in wellness programs do so voluntarily, with complete and accurate information about how their data will be used, and so their personal data is not abused by companies involved in wellness programs.

We are currently sponsoring legislation in California (AB 648) and New York (A7329). Fact sheets for these bills are posted here.