(c) 2018 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Insurance Companies May Offer Discounts for Wellness Programs

A healthy and fit workforce is essential element of loss prevention, especially in the workplace. The State of NJ is taking a huge step forward to encourage reaching the goal.

The NJ Department of Insurance (NJDOI) has indicated that new regulations will permit workers’ compensation insurance carriers to offer wellness program discounts. Discounts on gym memberships or wellness programs will now be permitted to be offered by workers’ compensation insurance carriers.

On June 19, 2017 the NJDOI proposed new regulations regarding the marketing of insurance policies.

(g) The prohibitions against rebates and inducements set forth in (a) through (f) above shall not be deemed to prohibit the provision to a person by an insurance producer of services or other offerings for free or at a discounted price and in a fair and non-discriminatory manner, provided that the service(s) or other offering(s) relate to or enhance the value of the insurance product being purchased. Services and other offerings that would not be prohibited include, but are not limited to:

1. Discounts on gym memberships or wellness programs in connection with life, accident, health, or sickness insurance products.

2017 NJ REG TEXT 460386 (NS), 49 N.J.R. 1658(a), N.J.A.C. 11:17A-1.2; N.J.A.C. 11:17A-2.3

In adopting the regulations that are effective November 20, 2917, the NJDOI announced:

COMMENT: One commenter stated that workers' compensation insurers should be permitted to offer employee wellness programs as a form of loss prevention, as a healthy and fit workforce may suffer fewer and less severe injuries on the job, for example, in fields where back injuries are a persistent occupational hazard. Accordingly, the commenter requested that the Department amend N.J.A.C. 11:17A-2.3(g)1 to read "discounts on gym memberships or wellness programs in connection with life, accident, health, workers compensation, disability or sickness insurance products" (suggested additional language in boldface).

RESPONSE: The Department agrees. While, by its terms, the rule provides that the list is not exhaustive, and thus workers' compensation and disability coverages are not excluded, the Department believes that it is appropriate to change the rule upon adoption to add workers' compensation to confirm that stated discounts related to that line would be permitted as well. The Department does not believe that it is necessary to add the reference to "disability" in that disability

insurance is a health insurance coverage and, thus, already included.

2017 NJ REG TEXT 460386 (NS), 49 N.J.R. 3607(a), N.J.A.C. 11:17A-1.2; N.J.A.C. 11:17A-2.3

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters).