Obese people risk paying higher insurance premiums
Caroline MacGregor January 31, 2013 | WGVU “We are not doing well at all, diabetes rates are too high, obesity rates are too high and it can only change by people who are listening saying to themselves, hey, I have got to get rid of this chronic condition that I can do that by exercising and getting a better diet."
of Community Health Director Jim Haveman weighing in on the issue of obesity
and looming higher insurance premiums for those who don’t try to overcome their
battle of the bulge. The U.S. health care reform law of 2010 includes a provision
that allows employers to charge obese workers 30 to 50 percent more for health
insurance if they fail to participate in a qualified wellness program.
says almost two-thirds of Michigan adults have problems keeping their weight
down and more than 30 percent are obese.
“Do you know there are thousands of people who quit smoking each year, there's thousands that go on diets to lose weight but as a general population we are still too enamored by the advertising we see, by the fast food.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows obesity rates among adults in
13 states could rise by more than 60% by 2030. The consequences of obesity
putting a strain dollar wise on the health care system are tangible.
Blue Shield of Michigan now covers about 40 percent of the state’s population. Companies
with more than 50 employees will have to provide insurance that meet federal requirements
and make it mandatory for obese workers to enroll in a health loss or wellness
program. Obese employees who don’t comply will pay higher insurance premiums while
companies will pay a penalty. Ron Palmer, CEO of Grand Valley’s Health Plan, is
in favor of the new law.
“I think it's a great idea - I think it's very important that this get addressed because we are finding out more about obesity being linked to sedentary lifestyles that are really problematic in terms of your health.”
discriminate based on pre-existing conditions or gender - a problem with some
insurance providers that view obesity as pre-existing condition.
As far as
discrimination against obese people, smokers pay up to 50 percent more for
individual insurance policies and those who sign up for their employer’s
insurance can avoid tobacco penalties only if they enroll in programs designed to
help them kick the habit.
“Well, I think my response is that for the vast majority of those people is that they can put themselves into programs that will help them reduce their obesity. Now there are some people who don't have those opportunities because of genetic conditions but for the vast majority of people really have the ability to control their weight.”
not surprised restaurants with 20 or more locations will have to list calorie
content and other nutritional information or they too will pay a penalty.
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