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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2006
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    Default Smoking and health insurance ~ surcharge for unhealthy habit

    the Affordable Care Act 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.

    so much for the affordable part

    So next is the obese?


    3 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Lexington, KY
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    Default

    Some employers give discounts if you lose weight, so yes, probably. We all know how bad smoking is for you, enroll in a smoking cessation program and not only will your health insurance premiums and life insurance premiums be lower, you won't have to spend all that money on cigarettes.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant


    8 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Dec. 19, 2007
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    Camden, DE
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    Default

    I really didn't think the Affordable Care Act was actually going to make anything more affordable. By smoking you do put yourself at much higher risk for certain cancers/diseases than those who don't smoke, and I feel that is how they are looking at it. Granted, not every smoker has health issues because of their habit, but statistically your chances are much higher. The same can be said for certain diseases in respect to obesity. Y'know, I'm not quite sure where stand. Part of me wants to say that's fine but I just..hrm. I want to see how others weigh in and look at the different perspectives.
    Last edited by ThoroughbredFancy; Feb. 3, 2013 at 07:44 PM. Reason: Spelling


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  4. #4
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    Dec. 20, 2003
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    Hillsborough, NC
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    Default

    Could be...

    My company has a program where you do certain things during the year to "earn" having the company pony up all of the contribution they normally make to your insurance coverage. For example, my individual coverage for as HSA plan is paid for in full by the company, but if I don't participate in the three activities required during the year, I end up ponying up up to $750 for the premium out of my own pocket And if you smoke, you will pay an extra $250 for your coverage above what a nonsmoker will pay.

    Last year, for the first time, one of the requirements was to either have a BMI at less than 28 or, if your BMI exceeded 28 the previous year, you had to lose 5% of your bodyweight to avoid paying extra out of pocket for your premium. They decided on 28 because their studies had shown that health care costs don't actually start to increase significantly until you are above that. (I work for a health insurance company.)

    They are trying to encourage healthier eating, increased activity, and smoking cessation (they will pay for employee efforts to stop smoking) which certainly are good things to strive for....

    But yes, it's a slippery slope. At what point do they start to single out risky activities like riding horses or skiing.

    Mr. Bloomberg would probably be all for a surcharge on folks who drink sugary sodas.
    Only one cat - must not be totally crazy yet!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2006
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    Default

    I think the slope is very slippery indeed. My insurance does the same as evenstar's. Each year you have to prove you attnded (online) three of their classes, smokers get charged more, you have to give yhem the size of your waist and if it is above their average you get put in a "program", you have to supply them with your annual health stats (blood work, exams, etc) and if you screw up and make a mistake on your yearly signup you will be paying money, money, money. I think they are a bunch of freaking thieves! My insurance doesn't cost less, they've just found ways to justify them chargng more.

    Can you tell I'm a bitter betty! )
    "All top hat and no canter". *Graureiter*


    2 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 6, 2008
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    314

    Default

    Insurance companies were doing this even before the Affordable Care Act. And honestly, I think its a good idea. In the longer run it is 1. healthier and 2. saves the insurance companies and the patients a lot of money. We know smoking puts you at risk for all kinds of problems. And the top three causes of death in the U.S. are strongly correlated with poor lifestyle choices (smoking, drinking, obesity, inactivity).

    The U.S. is behind many other countries in terms of not investing in preventative/lifestyle care. I'm studying public health in school and I think in the future we will see more and more emphasis put on preventative care, which in the end is cheaper and more healthy.


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2011
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    Pennsylvania
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by clanter View Post
    the Affordable Care Act 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.

    so much for the affordable part

    So next is the obese?
    Insurance companies have been doing this for years.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  8. #8
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    Feb. 6, 2003
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    NorthEast
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    Default

    I don't see issues with charging extra for known serious and proven health risks like smoking, obesity and alcoholism. However....there's a BIG issue if the rest of those insured aren't being charged a significant percent less than average. Why? Because for ages everyone was charged more to cover smokers, alcoholics and obesity. If companies will offset costs by targetting those incurring them, they shouldn't continue to charge the excess tO everyone else as profit.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2010
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    Westford, Massachusetts
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by paulaedwina View Post
    Insurance companies have been doing this for years.

    Paula
    Yes, some employers and insurers do this now, and they have for a while. It's not new with Obamacare, despite the misleading headlines that say "Smokers WILL pay much more under Obamacare!!!". Obamacare eliminates most medical and gender based underwriting but will still allow health plans to charger higher premiums for smokers, it isn't requiring it. Status quo.

    And, IMO, if we are continuing to allow higher premiums for smokers, we should also allow higher premiums for obesity, without an underlying medical diagnosis that causes it. But, then you could also allow higher premiums for those who drink too much, engage in dangerous recreational activities, etc....it IS a slippery slope indeed. Smokers are just politically correct to pick on .


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  10. #10
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    Mar. 25, 2011
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    Pennsylvania
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    I agree it's a slippery slope, but insurers are interested in the odds and are not swayed by politeness. So I say if insurers want to charge you more because you are fat (I am fat) listen to them -they know something for sure.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  11. #11
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    Feb. 20, 2010
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    Default

    To cut smoking rates, neither health information nor government interventions like labeling was enough. It took decades of action on every imaginable front, from health info and graphic warnings to higher taxes to anti-smoking advertising to a drop in TV/movies showing smoking as cool to outright banning it from most public venues, and still smoking rates aren't negligible (I mean they're much lower, there was success, but look at how much it too).

    So really, I see this as just one small avenue in trying to turn people off something unhealthy. I don't mind it at all, nor do I see it leading to a slippery slope - the smoking thing has been around for a long time, women pay more because of childbirth costs and complications whether or not they have kids, and the concept of high-risk activities already exists as far as insurance is concerned.



  12. #12
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    Jul. 19, 2007
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    Michigan
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    Insurance companies should be permitted to charge whatever they see fit--odds are a smoker will cost them more, they should pay more. Why should other customers who don't smoke subsidize the ones who do?

    Of course, I shouldn't have to pay for pre- and neo-natal care I'll never use, addiction treatment I will also never use, and a crapload of pediatric coverages that are completely useless because I don't have children, and "thanks" to the "Affordable" care act I have to pay for those....


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  13. #13
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    Mar. 25, 2011
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    Pennsylvania
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    I pay for alot of things I don't use, but I see it as the price to pay to live in civilized society. So as a consequence, for example, I pay school taxes, and support subsidies in day care and other social welfare programs. As for insurance costs of things pre-natal care, of course I pay. How else do we defray those costs? I am female and fertile and therefor potentially may need those services (well, academically speaking at my age it is highly unlikely). Even if I were male I potentially may need those services for a child so of course we pay.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


    5 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
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    Sep. 11, 2008
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    Snohomish, WA
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    Default

    I do see it as a slippery slope. New York has now banned the large drink. How long before it becomes OMG you had an extra potatoe chip quick raise the insurance???



  15. #15
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    No. Obamacare is completely different. A private company can do what it wants. The free market can usually keep an industry within certain bounds. If it doesn't the government will be there to all-too-quickly regulate it. There is no one to regulate or control the government, so no, everything under Obamacare is unprecedented and bad.
    If the govenment controls the health care, it controls every aspect of your life, from whether you smoke, what you eat, whether you engage in "dangerous" activities, and ultimately the late-term/post-birth abortions and free birth control for which so many were willing to sacrifice so much, will be subject to the control of that govenment over which you gave near complete control over your life. Scary, scary stuff and no......it has never been done in America and that does not mean we were "behind" other nations, it means that we were far, far superior.
    Of coursse, without voter fraud, Obamacare would not have passed - and that is an indisputable fact.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 6, 2008
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    314

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Coyoteco View Post
    No. Obamacare is completely different. A private company can do what it wants. The free market can usually keep an industry within certain bounds. If it doesn't the government will be there to all-too-quickly regulate it. There is no one to regulate or control the government, so no, everything under Obamacare is unprecedented and bad.
    If the govenment controls the health care, it controls every aspect of your life, from whether you smoke, what you eat, whether you engage in "dangerous" activities, and ultimately the late-term/post-birth abortions and free birth control for which so many were willing to sacrifice so much, will be subject to the control of that govenment over which you gave near complete control over your life. Scary, scary stuff and no......it has never been done in America and that does not mean we were "behind" other nations, it means that we were far, far superior.
    Of coursse, without voter fraud, Obamacare would not have passed - and that is an indisputable fact.
    We have some of the worst citizen health and public health of any industrialized nation and that does not translate to you as being behind other countries? Huh, okay. Refusing to invest in preventative care makes us superior?


    6 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
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    Mar. 12, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGHIRETIRE View Post
    I do see it as a slippery slope. New York has now banned the large drink. How long before it becomes OMG you had an extra potatoe chip quick raise the insurance???
    Absolutely, and if anyone thinks the insurance companies actually care about your health, come into the real world. It's all about saving themselves money, making more money and taking more money.... from you.
    "All top hat and no canter". *Graureiter*


    2 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
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    Jan. 26, 2010
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    Yeah. All of those stupid, first world countries with nationalized healthcare with a situation WAY better than ours have it ALL wrong. Offering healthcare and controlling every aspect of your life is like, well, offering education and saying they government is controlling every aspect of your life.

    Right. Of Course, without voter fraud, Bush would have never been elected a second time and had a chance to destroy the country, and that is an indisputable fact.

    Sigh. I'm with you, Paula. As adults, we pay for things we don't use and like because it is our responsibility as adults to take care of each other. I certainly don't see an Orwellian future, and frankly, I'm not all that happy about my insurance premiums being so high to pay for the smokers, eaters, drinkers, whatever, so maybe forcing some self-control and responsibility to others is a good thing.


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  19. #19
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    Sep. 11, 2008
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    I say AMEN!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gestalt View Post
    Absolutely, and if anyone thinks the insurance companies actually care about your health, come into the real world. It's all about saving themselves money, making more money and taking more money.... from you.



  20. #20
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    Well, so isn't that a GOOD reason to have "government" controlled healthcare and why most civilized countries have it? It takes the profit motive out of it? Well, at least some of it.


    1 members found this post helpful.

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