Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Health Care & Wellness Committee

HB 1776

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Addressing wellness programs offered by a health carrier.

Sponsors: Representatives Schmick, Cody, Hope, Morrell, Angel, Ryu and Pollet.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Allows a health carrier to sponsor a wellness program that is not part of the health benefit plan or contract.

Hearing Date: 2/14/13

Staff: Jim Morishima (786-7191).


Federal law generally prohibits group health plans from rating individuals based on health status. Employers may, however, provide their employees rewards for participating in programs designed to promote health or prevent disease or for meeting certain health targets (wellness programs). 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.

Summary of Bill:

A health carrier may offer or sponsor a wellness program that is not part of the health benefit plan or health benefit contract to a person or employer. The wellness program may include incentives, including gift cards or health-related goods or services. The wellness program must meet the following criteria:

The wellness program may include:

The wellness program and incentives must be available to the Insurance Commissioner for review. The prohibition against offering rewards as an inducement for purchasing insurance does not apply to these wellness programs.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.