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Thread: Should overweight people pay more for health insurance?

  1. #1
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    Should overweight people pay more for health insurance?

    The Denver Post thinks so, and I agree. What does anyone else think?


    It's not fair for people who take their health seriously and cost the system relatively little to bear the growing financial burden of caring for the severely overweight.



    http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci...063?source=pop


    From this editorial last year I learned Arizona was looking at adding a $50 fee for obese and/or smoking Medicaid patients.

    http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_18157324?source=bb


    I think both of these absolutely should be done. I have no idea why I have to pay extra in health insurance or taxes for people who do this to themselves.
    "It doesn't matter where you start or how people perceive you now or what your potential is. ... It's going to be how this football team comes together and meets the challenges ... I like our potential, but there's a lot of teams that like their potential. It's going to be how we put things together, how we grow and how we come together as a team. It's not going to be the best collection of talent, it's going to be the best team. ...." - Bo Pelini, Big 10 Media Days, 2014

  2. #2
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    I agree. If they don't take proper care of their health, they should pay more because of it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by huskernut View Post
    The Denver Post thinks so, and I agree. What does anyone else think?


    [/COLOR][/LEFT]

    http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci...063?source=pop


    From this editorial last year I learned Arizona was looking at adding a $50 fee for obese and/or smoking Medicaid patients.

    http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_18157324?source=bb


    I think both of these absolutely should be done. I have no idea why I have to pay extra in health insurance or taxes for people who do this to themselves.
    Does that apply to people with genetic diseases and hereditary disorders?
    "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." Ayn Rand

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  4. #4
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    What about coming at this from the other direction, and instead offer discounts to those who do things that contribute to healthier living? Like the discounts you can get for your car insurance.
    Lord loves a workin' man; don't trust whitey; see a doctor and get rid of it.



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red_in_Blue_Land View Post
    Does that apply to people with genetic diseases and hereditary disorders?
    The devil would be in the details, but that's not a bad idea. The Post anticipated it:

    Yes, there should be exceptions for the relative handful of people who have conditions beyond their control that hinder weight loss.


    "It doesn't matter where you start or how people perceive you now or what your potential is. ... It's going to be how this football team comes together and meets the challenges ... I like our potential, but there's a lot of teams that like their potential. It's going to be how we put things together, how we grow and how we come together as a team. It's not going to be the best collection of talent, it's going to be the best team. ...." - Bo Pelini, Big 10 Media Days, 2014

  6. #6
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    Tough call....when I had a "complex migraine" last year which was originally thought to be a stroke or TIA because I had aphasia, the doc said I was the healthiest person in the hospital....sooooo, should I get a discount for being healthy or pay more since the word "stroke" has been bantered around. FWIW....back in the late 90s I had a similar episode and the word "stroke" was put in my medical record and got denied Life Insurance at a couple places until I figured out why..needless to say, the page was shredded and I got the insurance.

  7. #7
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    Yes. It's all about personal choices. If someone doesn't want to eat healthy or keep in shape, they should pay more. Same with those who smoke.

  8. #8
    Should marathoners and exercise fanatics pay more?

    I would guess what they save on avoiding some future hypothetical cost of risk of disease, they more than make up in current money spent with orthopedic surgeons, etc...

    Injuries from over training is a very real risk and cost...

    I've been in both cohorts and I am pretty sure the Insurance companies have spent more money on my sports injuries...

  9. #9
    I'm not sure I buy the reasoning. It might be true that fat people cost more in health insurance, but I'm not convinced by these editorials. I was told years ago that the dirty secret about e.g. smokers was that they actually saved us money on health insurance. They tended to die young of diseases that couldn't be cured. Whereas "healthy," skinny people live long enough to get all kinds of cancers, and because they're fit they want to keep fighting the diseases (which is expensive).

    Does anybody know what the real cost of medical care for an overweight person is vs. a non-overweight person, per year, averaged over their entire lifetime? That's what we need to be comparing. Not just the cost of the 60-year-old with diabetes vs. one without, but also taking into account the the cost of an 80-year-old getting chemo vs. an 80-year-old who is no longer alive (and thus particularly cheap to care for).

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by KleinTxHusker View Post
    Should marathoners and exercise fanatics pay more?

    I would guess what they save on avoiding some future hypothetical cost of risk of disease, they more than make up in current money spent with orthopedic surgeons, etc...

    Injuries from over training is a very real risk and cost...

    I've been in both cohorts and I am pretty sure the Insurance companies have spent more money on my sports injuries...
    Those are good points and I've wondered the same thing, but overall -- and over time -- don't obesity and smoking cause more expensive, long term problems that can lead to greater complications? A blown out knee might be expensive, but a kidney transplant and dialysis is probably a lot more.

    Individual policies will rate you up if you're a health risk, and I believe at least some employer plans are moving in that direction.

  11. #11
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    are there any actuarial science professionals on HM? those know how to crunch those kind of numbers.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Zeppelin View Post
    Yes. It's all about personal choices. If someone doesn't want to eat healthy or keep in shape, they should pay more. Same with those who smoke.

    should they have to pay more for injuries that happen while running or thrown backs from pumping iron? Where would we stop?




    Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.

  13. #13
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    damn it nm Klein beat me to it.


    Ok lets take it tis direction....
    Should you be denied insurance if you contract a STD or HIV or HEP C?




    Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Pops View Post
    Ok lets take it tis direction....
    Should you be denied insurance if you contract a STD or HIV or HEP C?
    Even better, we could just charge people by the sex act. You call your insurance company the morning after and detail what you did and with whom, and they work out the premium adjustment.

    To seriously answer your question, no, you shouldn't be denied, IMO. It's too bad for those of us who live unexciting monogamous lives, we end up subsidizing the swingers. But such is the adverse selection and strange incentives of the world of insurance. I think it's better than the alternative, which is enumerating many distinctions between different people's risk factors are trying to price them....or punishing people after the fact for "poor choices" which almost defeats the purpose of insurance.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerator 5000 View Post
    Even better, we could just charge people by the sex act. You call your insurance company the morning after and detail what you did and with whom, and they work out the premium adjustment.

    To seriously answer your question, no, you shouldn't be denied, IMO. It's too bad for those of us who live unexciting monogamous lives, we end up subsidizing the swingers. But such is the adverse selection and strange incentives of the world of insurance. I think it's better than the alternative, which is enumerating many distinctions between different people's risk factors are trying to price them.
    swingers?




    Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.







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