Poll Says Smokers, Obese Should Pay More for Health Insurance

Adam's Apple

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Poll also covers the topic of universal health coverage.

Smokers, Obese Should Pay More Health Insurance: Poll
By Kim Dixon, Reuters News Service
November 14, 2006

Most Americans believe smokers and obese people should pay more for health insurance, but they have mixed views on how to help the millions without any health insurance, according to a survey published on Tuesday.

The poll of about 1,500 people found that that about 80 percent believe the U.S. health insurance system, with 46.6 million uninsured, needs fixing.
Sixty percent of those polled favored higher premiums for smokers while 30 percent felt the obese should pay more.

"When it comes to personal responsibility, consumers increasingly support making people pay more for unhealthy behavior," said the report in the journal Health Affairs.

The survey came a week after Democrats, who generally support more government measures to help the uninsured than Republicans, won control of both houses of Congress.

And on Monday, the health insurance industry unexpectedly threw its support behind a plan for nearly universal health insurance.

The rate of uninsured, now nearly 16 percent of Americans, has been climbing for years, driven by consumer demand and escalating prices for prescription drugs and hospital care.

About 20 percent of large employers are already giving discounts to workers who do not smoke, according to Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, which lobbies for corporations on health issues.

"The non-smoker's discount is growing in popularity and I think it is going to grow faster," she said.

As to obesity, "I think it will be a while before we get to the point where people begin tying a financial discount to something like BMI (body mass index)," she said.

for full article:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061114/pl_nm/insurance_dc
 

Stephanie

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I never expected anything less.....They've been taxing the shit out of smoker's for yrs now (yes I'm a smoker), so I always wondered WHO would be the next group they targeted......

Well lo and behold, it's people who are fat....

I can see it now....A special tax on all sweet stuff, greasy stuff, soda, all them goodies.....

And then it will be on to the next group....hmmm, I wonder who that will be?

Hey, it's ONLY FAIR...
 
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Adam's Apple

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The article made a lot of sense to me. I don't see why I should have to pay higher health insurance premiums because people who smoke and over-eat have more health problems than those who don't. Why should healthy people have to pay for choices that endanger health and make more doctor and hospital visits necessary?

My dad was a heavy smoker and died of emphysema, so I am familiar with all the expense just that one disease alone entailed.
 

Stephanie

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The article made a lot of sense to me. I don't see why I should have to pay higher health insurance premiums because people who smoke and over-eat have more health problems than those who don't. Why should healthy people have to pay for choices that endanger health and make more doctor and hospital visits necessary?

My dad was a heavy smoker and died of emphysema, so I am familiar with all the expense just that one disease alone entailed.
If that's what you think is fair....Then so be it..
 

90K

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I believe I shouldn't have to pay for others problems! And nobody should have to pay for mine either. I'm an ex-smoker and looking at these 2 problems of lungs and the effects of being over weight they are alarming to say the least. Healthcare system needs fixing and reviewing the Clintons and both of there failures alone should be enough evidence to see this is a very hard battle. Having universal health insurance is only as good as the system it supports! Meaning that our country would fail in that area due to the amount of money doctors receive. I hear all these positive things about Canada and its medical system but I haven’t heard many positive things when it comes to a serious or say cosmetic surgery like a hip replacement. Health care is another one of these concerns of what our wants are and what the system can truly provide. Let’s face it we can’t have it all and once we see this as an important first step maybe we’ll find a answer that works for the good of all.
 

theHawk

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I don't see why premiums wouldn't be higher according to the behavior of the person. We do the same thing for auto insurance now. I think health insurance should be like auto insurance, we should be able to shop for whatever company we want and get the kind of coverage we want.
 

dilloduck

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Hell-why stop there? Let's charge the heck out of those with genetic conditions that predispose them to cancer, heart disease and for that matter ANY other pricey medical condition? Just because "they can't help it" doesn't make thier treatment any cheaper for the rest of us.
 

90K

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what we need IMO is an unbias group to form a medical plan and system that would work----Key word being would. Yes we know it would get picked to death because you can't do this and can't do that. But get these special interest groups away and allow somebody to attempt to figure this mess out.. Thank God I'm healthy now but I suspect in time I'll start failing as it is only natural. But when that time comes I hope we'll all have a medical system that works and is effective to maintaining reasonable life.
 

dilloduck

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what we need IMO is an unbias group to form a medical plan and system that would work----Key word being would. Yes we know it would get picked to death because you can't do this and can't do that. But get these special interest groups away and allow somebody to attempt to figure this mess out.. Thank God I'm healthy now but I suspect in time I'll start failing as it is only natural. But when that time comes I hope we'll all have a medical system that works and is effective to maintaining reasonable life.
A system that would work for who? I don't think you can just exempt Dr.s, pharmaceutical companies or insurance companies from being part of the process.
 

Hobbit

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Hell-why stop there? Let's charge the heck out of those with genetic conditions that predispose them to cancer, heart disease and for that matter ANY other pricey medical condition? Just because "they can't help it" doesn't make thier treatment any cheaper for the rest of us.
They already do that. I have privately purchased health insurance, and because I have a family history of cancer and have had a (100% successful) cancer removal in the past, my premiums are about double any given company's advertised 'average' rates for whatever plan they're selling, and that's if I waive their responsibility if the original tumor comes back. It's triple-quadruple and with a higher deductible if I want that covered.
 

Stephanie

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I believe people who smoke, already pay a higher premium also..I know when I was looking into life insurance and I had the test done for it, they tested me for nicotine...


Adam A...
I misunderstood the article when I first read it...I got taxes mixed up in there....
 

Bullypulpit

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While smoking is a behavior of choice, obesity often isn't. Yeah, you have lazy slobs who'd rather veg out on the couch than lift a finger to do anything, but they're the minority. More often than not, there are deeply rooted psychological issues tied to a person's obesity and thier relationship to food. Until those issues are dealt with, nothing will keep them from gaining weight.

Medical conditions can lead to obesity as well, with hypothyroidism being a common cause.

As for the smokers and the slobs...they can pay.
 

Gunny

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Hell-why stop there? Let's charge the heck out of those with genetic conditions that predispose them to cancer, heart disease and for that matter ANY other pricey medical condition? Just because "they can't help it" doesn't make thier treatment any cheaper for the rest of us.
How much can we tax libs for being the burden on society that they are?
 

Gunny

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While smoking is a behavior of choice, obesity often isn't. Yeah, you have lazy slobs who'd rather veg out on the couch than lift a finger to do anything, but they're the minority. More often than not, there are deeply rooted psychological issues tied to a person's obesity and thier relationship to food. Until those issues are dealt with, nothing will keep them from gaining weight.

Medical conditions can lead to obesity as well, with hypothyroidism being a common cause.

As for the smokers and the slobs...they can pay.
I would say for the purposes of insurance, the reason for obesity is irrelevant.
 
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Adam's Apple

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I believe people who smoke, already pay a higher premium also
You're absolutely right about that, Steph. Be sure to read my post "The High Cost of Smoking" in the Current Events section. I made it a separate post rather than making it part of this post because it deals with a lot more than paying higher insurance premiums.
 

Abbey Normal

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If unhealthy behaivor is to be the trigger for higher premiums, how about men who visit prostitutes, or gay-bar devotees?
 

nukeman

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Keep in mind that a lot of insurance companies use the BMI to determine if someone is obese. I hate to be the one to bring bad news but most of us would fall into the obese catagory you all are talking about.

Any BMI over 25 is obese let me illustrate this for you, an example is a person who is 5'10" and weighs 175 puonds is obese, however if you lose 5 pounds you no longer are. This is the major problem with this type of plan. Where do you draw the line.

Also the BMI never takes into account body fat. if you have a person who once again is 5'10" and 200 pounds but is muscular they are still considerd obese. Even if they have a body fat content of less than 12%. This is why this type of program is useless.
 

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