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Should Insureds Pay More For Their Bad Habits?

01/29/13

  05:19:04 pm, by MedBen5   , 193 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Should Insureds Pay More For Their Bad Habits?

The Associated Press’ Mike Stobbe examines the impact that smokers and overeaters have on national health care spending, and the pros and cons of penalizing them with higher out-of-pocket costs:

“Annual health care costs are roughly $96 billion for smokers and $147 billion for the obese, the government says […]

“From an economist’s perspective, there would be less reason to grouse about unhealthy behaviors by smokers, obese people, motorcycle riders who eschew helmets and other health sinners if they agreed to pay the financial price for their choices.

“That’s the rationale for a provision in the Affordable Care Act - ‘Obamacare’ to its detractors - that starting next year allows health insurers to charge smokers buying individual policies up to 50 percent higher premiums. A 60-year-old could wind up paying nearly $5,100 on top of premiums.

“The new law doesn’t allow insurers to charge more for people who are overweight, however.

“It’s tricky to play the insurance game with overweight people, because science is still sorting things out. While obesity is clearly linked with serious health problems and early death, the evidence is not as clear about people who are just overweight.”

Read more at the AP website.

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