State work­ers who smoke will pay more for insurance

I’m utter­ly anti-smok­ing, although I fig­ure peo­ple have a right to do what they want when it does­n’t affect oth­ers. This, how­ev­er, alarms me as a trend.

Note—it’s group insur­ance, not indi­vid­ual. The fund in ques­tion is self-insured, so under­writ­ing isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly going to be the same. How­ev­er, group insur­ance is under­writ­ten based on the whole group, rather than individuals.

I’ve been the man­ag­er of a self-insured health insur­ance fund. I could not begin to imag­ine charg­ing dif­fer­ent pre­mi­ums based on some demo­graph­ic, even smoking.

The next group to pay high­er pre­mi­ums will be fat peo­ple, as they are pre­sumed to have high­er health care costs. Then? Peo­ple who don’t exer­cise, maybe? Any­one with a his­to­ry of health prob­lems? Queer peo­ple, assum­ing that they’re at high­er risk of HIV infec­tion? Will they do tox screens for drug use?

At least the cur­rent deci­sion is based on per­son­al behav­ior, rather than some­thing that is inher­ent to the individual. 

Fat, though, is often pre­sumed to sole­ly be a result of behav­ior, when that isn’t always the case.1I’m not here to edu­cate you about size accep­tance, so don’t go there in the com­ments. There are plen­ty of sites that are far bet­ter suit­ed for that, and I urge you to check them out if you assume that fat is always due to per­son­al choic­es or that all fat peo­ple are unhealthy. There may be a genet­ic pre­dis­po­si­tion to being large. There may be health prob­lems (PCOS, thy­roid imbal­ances, etc.) that cause weight gain. There may be weight gain as a side effect of med­ica­tions.2As an exam­ple, I gained more than 50 lbs. in under a year while tak­ing the most effec­tive anti­de­pres­sant I’ve ever been on. Seri­ous weight gain is a known side effect of that drug. Despite its effi­ca­cy, I refused to take it any­more because I could­n’t stand the weight gain.

If BMI were used (as it almost cer­tain­ly would be), we’d see many peo­ple who aren’t fat clas­si­fied as obese. For instance, a recent analy­sis showed that most of the play­ers in the NFL, based on their BMIs, are “obese”—some even “mor­bid­ly obese.”

Part of my con­cern is based on anoth­er sto­ry try­ing to jus­ti­fy low­er pay for fat peo­ple. There’s dis­cus­sion of that sto­ry at Big Fat Blog.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
Posts created 4254

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top