Starting January 1, 2005, another insurance company will give members a discount for sweating it out in the gym.

Following in the footsteps of companies such as Aetna and Oxford Health Plans, the non-profit, taxable organization Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota will give a $20 credit per month to its fully insured members who work out at least eight days a month at one of their participating fitness centers.

With 2.6 million members across the country, Blue Cross Minnesota has included Select Curves, Gold’s Gyms and YMCAs, along with numerous others, on the list of participating clubs for the Minnesota area. Blue Cross Minnesota members who live outside of Minnesota will have access to 1,500 independent clubs nationwide. According to a Blue Cross press release, the list of participating clubs will continue to grow in the coming months.

“We feel that offering our members a choice in fitness centers is the key to making this program successful,” Dr. James Woodburn, medical director for Blue Cross, said in the release.

Here’s how it works: In January, eligible members will receive a notice in their mail about the program. Then, they can enroll at their participating fitness center. The fitness center credits will be available at no charge to fully insured employer/purchaser groups. Self-funded groups can purchase the program now for a Jan. 1, 2005 start date.

Blue Cross Minnesota is the largest health plan based in Minnesota and is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago.

Health clubs interested in becoming members of the BluePrint for Health fitness discounts program can contact the Minnesota Independent Health Club Association at www.mihca.org.