Federal law generally prohibits group health plans from rating individuals based on health status. Employers may, however, provide their employees rewards for participating in wellness programs designed to promote health or prevent disease, or for meeting certain health targets. Wellness programs that require employees to meet health standards are subject to additional requirements, including:
Wellness programs that require participation only are not subject to additional requirements.
State law prohibits insurers, producers, or title insurance agents from offering rewards as an inducement for purchasing insurance. Wellness programs that meet federal requirements are exempt from this prohibition.
Subject to appropriation not to exceed $200,000, the Department of Health (DOH) must convene a task force to develop a parks prescription health and wellness pilot program that can be implemented in the Puget Sound, eastern Washington, and southwest Washington regions. Task force members must include:
The task force must advise DOH on developing:
The task force must establish an advisory committee in each region of the pilot program with representatives from communities experiencing health disparities, and consult with the advisory committee when designing the program.
DOH must report the findings and recommendations of the task force to the Governor and Legislature by September 1, 2022.
The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard. PRO: The intent of the bill is to provide prescribed access to the outdoors to communities that experience poor health outcomes. Wellness programs lower the cost of health care in the long term and connecting to the outdoors helps individuals deal with trauma. Low cost access to parks should be utilized to improve health outcomes. This program would bring the right stakeholders together to help communities that need assistance in accessing the outdoors.
OTHER: The language in the bill concerning insurer wellness programs should be change to reflect how these programs work.