Friday, February 04, 2005

Florida requires HMOs to offer subsidies for healthy behavior?

I don't imagine the Miami Herald is exaggerating when it calls the following proposal the first of its kind in the nation. I haven't heard of anything quite like it. Letting employers have an option to keep the financial benefit to themselves is an interesting twist. Cynical or politically savvy? You decide:

TALLAHASSEE - Florida's government wants you to lose weight -- or stop smoking, or head to the gym -- and it wants you to be rewarded if you do, though your boss may be the one who actually benefits.

Gov. Jeb Bush and the state Cabinet approved a rule Tuesday that forces most private insurers and HMOs in the state to send rebate checks to employers when their workers adopt a healthier lifestyle this year.

A lot of questions remain about how to monitor the weight and smoking habits of workers without violating anyone's privacy. And what about people who have never smoked or otherwise already have healthy habits?

Under the first-in-the nation ''Healthy Lifestyles Rebate'' plan, employers are not required to pass on the savings to workers, though some insurers are offering checks to employees as well.


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