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Should people with unhealthy lifestyles pay higher premiums on insurance?

By February 15, 2008 - 10:04am
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There seems to be growing support for charging higher insurance premiums to people who live 'unheathy' lifestyles. Do you think that's a fair move? Share your thoughts.

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EmpowHER Guest

Higher the cost is just more money in there pocket less than 4% of people that smoke get cancer they may get sick but then everybody does my question is why don't they charge people that use alcohol more. More people die from that than smoking even if they drive drunk and get injuries. Or injurie someone else that's more money the insurance has to pay smoking and drinking are both problems but be fair charge both or neither but get them help

November 22, 2017 - 3:40pm
EmpowHER Guest

No, Health is not always black and white. I have been eating healthy and exercising. Yet, I still gain weight. I have normal thyriod test however my thyriod has not been functioning well. I recently had part of it removed because it was enlarged and pressing on my trachea, making it hard to breath and swallow. The surgeon who removed it said I didn't need any medication. My regular doctor disagreed and started me on medication and now I am felling better and have started loosing the weight. I really think the obesity problem really needs a health care provider to help manage and if you make it more expensive; those who need help will not get the help they need.
I agree that smokers, alcoholics and those who are addicted to drugs should be given one chance to stop and if they fail, charge them more.

I have had my heart check out thoroughly because someone came to work with the flu or a cold virus and I was diagonised with viral myocarditis. My cholesterol level is normal and the only damage was from the virus. Should I have to pay for others being inconsiderate and not staying home when they are sick?

October 27, 2011 - 9:49am
EmpowHER Guest

You are right. Money talks and, I believe, would be a big incentive to change these behaviors! But this shouldn't just be about smoking or overeating or not exercising. The same goes for motor cyclists who ride without helmuts, drivers who speed and people who engage in high-risk sports. They either pay the higher premium or the ambulance doesn't pick them up. We should all know and pay for the consequences of our behavior.

August 18, 2011 - 11:19am
EmpowHER Guest


(no question on that as it is very simple; its their fault at the end of the day, they can pay the consequences for their actions!)

May 19, 2011 - 11:55am
EmpowHER Guest

Absolutely. If you choose to smoke, drink excessively, eat unhealthy and rarely or never engage in physical activity, you are setting yourself up for cardiovasular disease, as well as many other preventable diseases that rack up billions in American healthcare costs.

April 20, 2010 - 9:57am
EmpowHER Guest

I think that they should not pay more but if the company chooses to than the company should beable to pay it but they choose not to but i think that every body should be charged the same rate and if there is intrest they should be the same as some one that doesnot

Thank you Jessica Coffelt

April 19, 2010 - 8:53pm

I thought of one more thing! :-)

If you ask college students (probably any population, really) if they are a smoker or if they smoke, they'll say no.

Some of those students who said "no" can be found on the weekend, drinking a few beers and smoking a cigarette.

They weren't lying when they said "no". They don't consider themselves "a smoker", don't think they "smoke" when it is just a few cigarettes that they bummed from a friend on the weekend.

How do they answer the smoking-related questions for health insurance? Are they lying if they say no? What if they smoke only on the weekends, and are one of the lucky 30% who do not become addicted, are they still lying?

Health choices do not happen in a vacuum, and it is the rare person that can say they perform a healthy behavior 100% of the time. Always. Even with laws, such as seat belt laws to protect our physical health in cars...can you say you wear them 100% of the time? Yes? What if you are in the back seat? What about that one time you were in a family member's car at night and couldn't dig out the buckle. Health behaviors just aren't black-and-white, and I think it's unfair for health insurance companies to suggest they are.

February 16, 2008 - 12:55pm

I'll have to give this more thought, but the first thing that jumped out at me: having people pay higher premiums for an "unhealthy" lifestyle is a dangerous slope...who defines "unhealthy"? Would the "unhealthy" choices be determined across the board, or based on gender, age, race, disability, sexual orientation, etc? I could potentially see this as discriminatory against certain persons.

Plus, aren't there some socio-economic studies that discuss this topic: persons who do not have the financial means for "regularly"-priced insurance (which is still REALLY high, by the way!!) are more likely to experience some "unhealthy" lifestyle choices...and increasing their premiums would only exacerbate this problem?

I thought the real problem is that not ENOUGH people have health insurance, and we need to focus on ALL people having access to health care and health insurance, instead of focusing on healthy vs. unhealthy lifestyle choices. I do not know of a single person who does not make unhealthy lifestyle choices...some of those choices may "cost" more than others...

February 16, 2008 - 12:47pm

That healthy people are forced to pay high premiums in order to cover the cost of unhealthy patient care just rubs me the wrong way! The underlying problem is that we're a litigious society.

I think it's great that the tobacco companies have been held accountable for marketing strategies that promoted smoking as a cool thing to do, particularly among young adults. However, I don't agree with suing the tobacco company for a person's addiction to nicotine. The individual is ultimately responsible for what she puts into her body. But, the lawyers have succeeded in putting blame upon the manufacturers of a product and their wildly successful marketing that compelled a person to addiction. It's a catch-22.

Then, what about frivolous lawsuits like suing a fast food chain for making your kids obese? That's ridiculous, in my opinion. Again, people want to pass the blame to someone else. What are we, a society of people who won't be held accountable for our own actions?

So, no, I don't think it's fair that those of us who subscribe to preventive care and do what we can to follow a healthy lifestyle should pay for those who won't or don't. I think those who fail to be accountable for their own unhealthy lifestyles should be charged the higher cost of taking care of them. Did you know that doctors who care for the obese and smokers are paid less than doctors who care for patients who undergo unnecessary procedures?

And people wonder why health care costs are so high! Lawyers and politics, that's why!

February 15, 2008 - 4:29pm
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