Health insurance is far from a stimulating topic, well unless you’re the Federal government, but that’s a story for another day. I applaud health insurance brokers and benefits specialists who do this on a full-time basis.
I would like to see health insurance carriers start treating subscribers the same way as auto, homeowners and life insurance carriers do. Think of driving. If you get too many tickets or accidents or decide to drive your car after a few toddies, you’re in big trouble with your carrier (and the law!) and will be nailed with higher premiums — as well as probably being dropped like a hot potato if they find out. Have fun shopping those car insurance rates due to making the choice to be irresponsible on the road. Have you tried to purchase a generous life insurance policy if you’re not healthy?
Why don’t companies do the same with health insurance and employees? Are our bodies not as important as vehicles? If people choose to be irresponsible with their health — such as make the choice to smoke or be obese without taking steps to lead a healthy life, why should healthy individuals pay the same premium as irresponsible, unhealthy people? This question was posted to an HR group and one of the comments made was that it was discriminatory. Seriously? Would you tell your auto carrier that when they raise your rates because you’re choosing to speed? I don’t think there should be equal rights and fairness with health insurance premiums. Keep in mind, I’m not talking about individuals who have a real, diagnosed medical condition — I’m referring to those who choose to lead an unhealthy life. People can’t play the ignorant card. The data is plastered on television ads, the Internet, in schools and workplaces. These are just a few statistics taken from the American Heart Association’s site. There is a ton of information about obesity and smoking-related diseases as well.
- About 12 million (16.3%) of U.S. children ages 2 to 19 are obese.
- Nearly one in three (31.9%) U.S. children (23,500,000) ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese.
- Nearly one-third (32.9%) of U.S. adults are obese (nearly 72 million adults).
Do we need to get into the damages of smoking? I didn’t think so. I’m also tired of the crutches — smoking is an addiction, depressed people use food to comfort. Enough already. I say that companies should have the right to distribute health questionnaires from carriers and the premiums should be adjusted accordingly.
For the record, I also don’t think it’s a company’s responsibility to offer workplace wellness programs. Your employer is not your mommy. We should all be making healthy choices and taking care of ourselves each and everyday.
…now where’s my Ben & Jerry’s? Yes, I eat ice cream and I believe in moderation and making healthy choices because I want to live a long time!
Feel free to share your thoughts!