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Should obese people be charged more for health insurance?

A bill in the state Senate (S. Carolina) would charge fat public workers an extra 25 bucks a month, tying the fee to employees’ body mass index, which is a measurement of weight and height. So is this fair? Should obese people pay more health insurance? Obesity is an epidemic apparently.

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 1:15 AM on Jun. 4, 2009 in Health

Answers (48)
  • Yes. It's legitimately a medical problem that puts you more at risk for health problems.  It IS an epidemic--it kills more Americans every year than anything else, including smoking.  Actually recent studies have equated being obese as an equal health risk to smoking, and smokers have to pay extra for their insurance.

    aurorabunny

    Answer by aurorabunny at 1:29 AM on Jun. 4, 2009

  • Should smokers be charged more? Should drug users be charged more? should diabetics be charged more? Should aids/cancer patients be charged more?
    Hartbrayka

    Answer by Hartbrayka at 1:57 AM on Jun. 4, 2009

  • Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

    These aren't moral questions, people are making them ethical issues when they're not. You have to look at ALL of these conditions with one question in mind: Does this condition up the chances that this person will need more doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, etc? Because that's how the insurance companies look at it. And if the answer is yes than the answer is yes.
    aurorabunny

    Answer by aurorabunny at 2:02 AM on Jun. 4, 2009

  • Yes. Unless they have Hyperthyroidism or Cushing syndrome, both of which can be diagnosed and account for only 1% of the obese in America, they are making the CHOICE to be obese and should be charged for it (and its affects) just like smokers and alcoholics are. And no I am not hating on obese people.. my mom is obese, I have obese family members, I WAS obese after having my babies until I took control of my life again.


    Overeating and lack of exercise is a choice we make... we as a nation need to stop hiding and start realizing that it IS as much of a choice as drinking, smoking, doing drugs.. its just as addictive, and it is just as dangerous.

    LuminousMom

    Answer by LuminousMom at 3:03 AM on Jun. 4, 2009

  • Well, in some cases yes. BUT in cases where it can not necessarily be helped, no. And how would we put limits on that? There are diseases and medications as well that cause weight gain. I gained over 30 lbs in 4 months because I was taking a drug that was fairly new and didn't have a warning about excessive weight gain as a side effect but it was the only medication that was working for me. I got off it 2 years ago after only 4 mnoths on it, and have only been able to lose 14 of those lbs. I eat healthy, exercise moderately, and still do not lose the weight. There are real reasons that some people have issues with being able to lose weight. But for those who just choose to over eat and not eat healthy foods or exercise, then yeah that's their own fault. Sorry, but it is.
    AprilDJC

    Answer by AprilDJC at 3:56 AM on Jun. 4, 2009

  • Unless the obesity is caused by a medical issue, then yes!
    rkoloms

    Answer by rkoloms at 6:51 AM on Jun. 4, 2009

  • I have to disagree, I don't think so. I know people who are overweight, and they are much healthier than people who are thin. And vice versa. I think insurance premiums should be based on your individual health. A lot of them make you take a health exam first anyway, so do a complete one, check the health history, how often they go to the dr, etc. and base it on that. I myself am slightly overweight, but not what would be considered obese, per se. I never go to the dr, never get sick (knock on wood), my cholesterol, sugar, and everything else are all well within the normal range. I am very healthy. My best friend from high school is very thin, but she has heart problems, bad lungs from smoking, asthma, and is getting arthritis in her knees, and she's only 30. To base it on weight, I would pay more than her, and how would that be right? Just something to think about. I see your point, but think about the other side, too. :)
    tropicalmama

    Answer by tropicalmama at 7:00 AM on Jun. 4, 2009

  • BMI is a joke. A lot of athletes would be charged extra if you make a policy on the BMI chart alone. Charging extra for something like this is a slippery slope. Next they'll be charging YOU extra for something you never saw coming down the pike, like being a waitress in the smoking section of a restaurant, for example.
    yakamoz

    Answer by yakamoz at 7:13 AM on Jun. 4, 2009

  • I think that this is the decision of the insurance company. Being that they are the ones providing the coverages. Its not really up for mass discussion or vote. If you buy group insurance then they might ask you if you smoke but thats about it. Then with private insurance that you do not buy through a group, just on your own, they have an entire questionaire. The questions range from how tall you are, how much you weigh, to do you have any chronic medical issues. If they feel you are a risk, they will not likely cover you. I used to see my MD about 4 times a year for sinus issues and they felt that was excessive. Needless to say we did not go with that company. We now have group insurance through Cigna. They get as much info as they want so I think this should be left up to the individual companies to decide what their policy is. This is a business and competitive market just like anything else.
    momofsaee

    Answer by momofsaee at 7:21 AM on Jun. 4, 2009

  • Yes I agree 100%!!
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:24 AM on Jun. 4, 2009

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