Wouldn’t an incentive to lose weight be nice? Say, a nice check in the mail? Well, as of February, most private Florida insurers and HMOs are now required “to send rebate checks to employers when their workers adopt a healthier lifestyle.”

The new state rule, which the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) worked on with the Florida Health Club Association (FHCA), offers up to a 10% rebate for a healthy lifestyle. According to an IHRSA press release, the indicators for a “healthy lifestyle” include weight reduction and smoking cessation.

The FHCA says it is still unclear how individual health insurers will interpret the rules, but its website offers one company as an example. Vista Healthplan of Fort Lauderdale will offer policyholders up to $150 a year if they join select fitness clubs and exercise at least three times a week 3 weeks a month. According to the FHCA, Florida is the first state to pass such legislation.

For more information, visit www.flsenate.gov and type in “2004” and “HB 1629” in the search fields. You can also visit the sites for IHRSA (http://cms.ihrsa.org) and the FHCA (www.flhealthclubs.org).