With AARP membership, there’s always more to discover. Browse your member benefits.
by Susan Jaffe, AARP Bulletin, May 17, 2010
Q. If we use wellness programs to stay healthy—and reduce the costs for our health insurer—can we get a discount on our insurance costs?
A. For those who still need more encouragement to stay healthy, the law allows companies to reward employees who participate in a wellness program and meet certain goals, like losing weight or giving up smoking. Starting in 2014, they can earn as much as a 50 percent discount on the cost of their premiums or copayments—or receive extra benefits.
Almost 60 percent of companies that offer health care coverage also provide weight loss programs, gym membership discounts, smoking cessation programs, nutrition classes or personal health coaching, according to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust. Ten percent of those companies give employees who participate a financial reward.
Some critics were worried that a system of rewarding the healthy would punish those who can’t take an exercise class or participate in other health programs. The law says that employers must set up alternative programs and rewards for those workers who cannot participate if doing so would threaten their health. What that means will be also spelled out in regulations.
Susan Jaffe of Washington, D.C., covers health and aging issues and writes the Bulletin’s weekly column, Health Care Reform Explained: Your Questions Answered.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.
Members save on eye exams and eyewear at participating locations.
Members save up to 10% on premiums when enrolling online.
Members can take a free confidential hearing test by phone.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
You'll start receiving the latest news, benefits, events, and programs related to AARP's mission to empower people to choose how they live as they age.
You can also manage your communication preferences by updating your account at anytime. You will be asked to register or log in.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at