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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Wellness programs that reward people for exercising or stopping smoking are common in employer plans, and soon they will be an option in individual health plan marketplaces, the Trump administration said in a bulletin yesterday.

The big picture: 10 states will get to experiment with wellness programs in their Affordable Care Act markets, and they generally have to comply with federal rules for employer wellness programs.

  • That means, among other things, participants cannot receive a discount on their coverage of more than 30% of their premiums. Health insurers also must have "reasonable alternative standards" for sick or disabled people who can't do the program.

The bottom line: We've said this before, but we'll say it again. All reputable evidence has concluded wellness programs don't lower costs, don't improve people's health, and raise legal and privacy concerns.

Go deeper: Study shows a workplace wellness program didn't do much

Go deeper

Inaugural address: Biden vows to be "a president for all Americans"

Moments after taking the oath of office, President Joe Biden sought to soothe a nation riven by political divisions and a global pandemic, while warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country and defeat a "virus that silently stalks the the country."

Why it matters: From the same steps that a pro-Trump mob launched an assault on Congress two weeks earlier, the new president paid deference to the endurance of American political institutions.

Updated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden and Vice President Harris review readiness of military troops, a long-standing tradition to signify the peaceful transfer of power.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated as president and vice president respectively in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Top Democrats and Republicans gathered for the peaceful transfer of power only two weeks after an unprecedented siege on the building by Trump supporters to disrupt certification of Biden's victory. Trump did not attend Wednesday's ceremony.

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