Penalizing healthy people

Posted: May 24, 2010 in Health

When I was young and single I worked for a large technology company that provided very good health insurance plan options. Each year we would re-enroll by choosing from several options for which our cost and the company contribution was clearly spelled out. I always bristled at the fact that it was a flat rate for all employees despite the very obvious differences in health care costs. I was active, thin and a non-smoker while some of my office mates overweight, sedentary and heavy smokers who were clearly close to being on their last legs. The obvious differences in lifestyle choices were clearly reflected in the obvious differences in health. Yet none of that was ever a consideration in company or individual contribution to plan premiums.

Are things any different now with the enforced mandatory purchase of health insurance by Americans? I mean, is there any connection between health care cost and premiums under the current plan? Does a healthy person who lives a healthy lifestyle pay the same as an overweight person who has unhealthy habits? There really should be a strong correlation between lifestyle and insurance premiums. That is the only way to move more of the resources from “sick-care” to “health-care”. It should be a requirement that a person have a physical examination each year and assessment made of their overall health and lifestyle choices. It’s pretty easy to identify an overweight person who smokes, and those people should pay substantially more for insurance and face a substantially higher penalty for not buying insurance.


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