I saw this poll in Money Mag yesterday and thought it was an interesting one. I’ve had this discussion with friends in the past, but I still go back and forth on it :) Maybe you’re better at it?
Here’s the question in its entirety, along w/ the results and the options people chose from (and if you have a copy of June’s edition, turn to page 24): Should health insurers penalize people for their unhealthy behavior?
- 31% said – Yes, it promotes good health
- 22% said – Only for very unhealthy things like smoking
- 38% said – No, but they should offer incentives
- 9% said – Never
Now my gut says YES – people should be penalized for not being healthy. But easy for me to say since I’m skinny as a rail and not addicted to cigs or drugs or anything else of that nature (and no – I’m not addicted to beer as much as I talk about it ;) ). A lot of times people are lazy, however, and need that extra kick in the ass to do something about it. A $5 or $10 fee won’t do much of anything, but at $50 or $100? A paycheck? I’d like to think so!
But then you have the people who can’t get better no matter how hard they try. Maybe it’s due to an injury, or maybe it’s in their genes, but to penalize those who have no control over their situation (or maybe *less* control I should say) would just be unfair.
The answer I’d probably have picked if it was up there is this: No, don’t penalize the unhealthy, but REWARD those who ARE healthy! I’m not too sure if it would save anyone any money (aka the health industry) but I’d like to think it would generate some good buzz and get people thinking :) Or maybe they already do that now?
Before you answer it yourself, check out some of these stats Money Mag drops at the end. I had to go back and rethink it myself once I read through them – this is some scary stuff!
- 21% of U.S. adults smoke
- Smokers pay $17,500 more than nonsmokers over their lifetime in extra medical costs.
- The average bill for a hospital stay for lung cancer is $45,500
- 34% of U.S. adults are obese. (scary!!!)
- Obese people pay $1,429 extra A YEAR in annual medical costs vs. those at normal rates.
- 36% of companies that offer wellness incentives give $150 or more to workers who fill out a health risk questionnaire. (Sign me up!)
What do you think? Should people get penalized for being overweight or addicted to cigs? Whichever route you go, we can all agree that staying healthy is VERY important. Not only so you can live longer and pay less out of your pocket, but also so you can continue reading this blog forever and ever :) Stay fit my frugal friends!!!