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Should employers be allowed to charge overweight workers more for healthcare coverage?

A woman walks on a sidewalk in downtown Johannesburg, Wednesday Nov. 29, 2006. More than one-third of African women and a quarter of African men are estimated to be overweight, and the Word Health Organization predicts that will rise to 41 percent and 30 percent resepctively in the next 10 yaers. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
Denis Farrell
A woman walks on a sidewalk in downtown Johannesburg, Wednesday Nov. 29, 2006. More than one-third of African women and a quarter of African men are estimated to be overweight, and the Word Health Organization predicts that will rise to 41 percent and 30 percent resepctively in the next 10 yaers. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

"Yes, without a doubt and smokers should have their premiums increased also." -- Joseph L.

"Outrageous. What about technically "slim" people who drink regularly, smoke, participate in risky sexual behavior, are chronically stressed, and don't get proper rest? Those traits are not visible, but they put insured people at great health risk, and are costly. In contrast, many people who appear overweight have healthy diets, do not drink or smoke, are monogamous without STD's, and have low stress. This seems to be more about a cultural bias against what we perceive as overweight than reality. All insured people should be outraged. If we allow this, then what will the insurers decide to charge more for next? We are paying them. These are among the largest, most profitable companies on the planet. They choose to up premiums for many reasons - but not because some of their insured are overweight, have cancer, emphysema, etc. They do it because they can, and because we need the coverage, we pay it. Insured people should stand up for each other. Don't buy the insurance companies' rhetoric. No one will benefit." -- Kim M., Georgia

"Absolutely! Believe it or not, benefits are still a privilege. Rating health insurance as life insurance, would shift the burden of expense to most likely users. Insurance should be for “extraordinary” purposes, not routine visits, but they are not. Overweight people consume more medical attention than those not overweight, and therefore, should pay a higher premium." -- Felix. O. Texas

"Yes, Why should I pay more for somebody that doesn’t have any eating discipline. If I can do it they can to. (5’9/175lbs.)" -- Patrick A.

"I don't see why not, if it can reduce cost to those who live a healthier lifestyle by staying in shape. Higher car insurance premiums have been charged to riskier drivers for as long as I can remember, why should this be any different? Would a financial incentive to take care of yourself be such a bad thing? Maybe employers would even be more likely to offer cover the cost of health club memberships. These seem like good things to me." -- Christian F., New Jersey

"Absolutely NOT!!! That is discriminatory." -- Wilson

"Yes, overweight workers should be charged more for healthcare. Automobile insurers charge more for riskier drivers, home insurers charge more for riskier neighborhoods. That is the nature of insurance. It provides incentives for less risky behavior.

Most overweight people make bad choices; they are rarely are doomed by their genetics. Why should one normal weight employee pay more for health care coverage just so another obese employee get's a free ride? It's not fair to the person who takes care of him/herself.

It is becoming more and more scientifically documented that obesity is directly linked to cause some of our most expensive medical conditions (diabetes, heart disease, cancer).

"Why should the healthy people be penalized with unaffordabel health insurance for those who make bad choices about what and how much they eat? (and how little they exercise?)" -- Ivy N., Wisconsin

More Comments

"Absolutely not, as many overweight people could have a genetic problem, or a health problem, or a medication problem. Even people who exercise, and eat correctly may still have a weight problem. How would you determine this? " -- Yvonne M Michigan

"It should depend on the person. Although it sounds discriminatory, overweight people tend to get sicker then people who live a healthier lifestyle. If an overweight person is heavy because he or she eats a lot than yes. But there are some people who are overweight who cannot help it. Such as a thyroid problem. So I think it should depend on the individual. You can't just group together all the heavyweight people and say ok, your all fat, so your going to pay more in health insurance. If it's a medical reason why they are heavy than no, they shouldn't have to pay more." -- Lori M., Pennsylvania

"Yes, they should. Also people who drink alcohol should pay more. And what about people who play weekend sports or ride a motorcycle, hey they might get hurt. What about kids that like to play video games, "bad for the eyes". And last but not least, what about people who think its time to get up on their soap box and tell everyone about why overweight people should pay more because they don't have "discipline". They better be careful someone doesn't knock them off their soap box, they might get hurt." -- Jim A. California

"I think employers should be allowed to charge overweight workers just as a they do smokers more for health care. It's not the employers responsibility to subsidizes our poor choices when comes to our health. We have in this country gotten away from personal responsibility. Should employers be responsible for our failure to control our spending when we go into debt? I don't think so. We have the same responsibility to make healthier lifestyle choices that would improve our health or pay for our own bad choices. Employers should be penalized for their employees bad choices." -- Ron E., Georgia