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Should "smokers" pay more for health ins?

Todd0611
Posts: 99
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9/4/2015 3:16:21 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Posted this in miscellaneous, didn't get any traction (maybe people don't look at the misc forum?). Just curious...

Wasn't sure if this should go under health, society, or another forum.
I started smoking in my mid 20's, and just quit this past year (9 months no cigs-smoked for about 16 years). I worked for a company that charged me about $12/month more for my health insurance, however, I never went in to see the doctor for a "smoking" related illness. I get the logic of using a higher cost to dissuade people from smoking, but I also felt like I was being discriminated against because I was a "smoker". I'm kind of surprised that in the modern age of the "I got my rights!!!" viewpoint, that no one has tried to file a lawsuit to change this policy (maybe they have, but I haven't researched).

At the time, I questioned why didn't the insurance companies charge fat, and overweight people more for their health insurance, I mean some of the same logic applies. If you smoke, you may have to go to the doctor for high blood pressure, same thing with people that are overweight. People will say, well you "chose" to smoke, so you are putting your health at risk; same thing applies to people who overeat. They choose to eat more than they should, or they don't exercise, both of which can cause health issues. I'm not talking about the exceptions, genetic defects, and others, but just average people, who could have avoided health problems, if they watched their diet.

I also knew plenty of people who smoked the "herb", but weren't regular smokers (of cigarettes), and they didn't have to pay more for their insurance either. One step further, what about people who drink too much, would you charge more for people who had "beer guts"? They also have a choice like smokers, not to drink as much, or quit. I am a retired smoker, so this does not effect me anymore, but just wanted your thoughts on the topic, thanks.
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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9/4/2015 5:24:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/4/2015 3:16:21 PM, Todd0611 wrote:
Posted this in miscellaneous, didn't get any traction (maybe people don't look at the misc forum?). Just curious...

Wasn't sure if this should go under health, society, or another forum.
I started smoking in my mid 20's, and just quit this past year (9 months no cigs-smoked for about 16 years). I worked for a company that charged me about $12/month more for my health insurance, however, I never went in to see the doctor for a "smoking" related illness. I get the logic of using a higher cost to dissuade people from smoking, but I also felt like I was being discriminated against because I was a "smoker". I'm kind of surprised that in the modern age of the "I got my rights!!!" viewpoint, that no one has tried to file a lawsuit to change this policy (maybe they have, but I haven't researched).

At the time, I questioned why didn't the insurance companies charge fat, and overweight people more for their health insurance, I mean some of the same logic applies. If you smoke, you may have to go to the doctor for high blood pressure, same thing with people that are overweight. People will say, well you "chose" to smoke, so you are putting your health at risk; same thing applies to people who overeat. They choose to eat more than they should, or they don't exercise, both of which can cause health issues. I'm not talking about the exceptions, genetic defects, and others, but just average people, who could have avoided health problems, if they watched their diet.

I also knew plenty of people who smoked the "herb", but weren't regular smokers (of cigarettes), and they didn't have to pay more for their insurance either. One step further, what about people who drink too much, would you charge more for people who had "beer guts"? They also have a choice like smokers, not to drink as much, or quit. I am a retired smoker, so this does not effect me anymore, but just wanted your thoughts on the topic, thanks.

Google actuary tables to find your answer.
At issue is the cost of health insurance - how much is a smoker going to cost me? It is a risk analysis, and smokers are a clear cut demographic, similar to age, and unlike weight.

Smokers are a higher health risk, this is a fact.
Overweight people, due to being fat, are, too, however, how is this quickly ascertained? Asking my height and weight? BMI?
This is a quick question in group rates to assess risk.

Why do we charge more for old people? Pre-existing conditions? Thrill seekers, like sky divers?It's all about risk.
The weight issue isn't necessarily about weight, it is more about nutrition and/or exercise, but not all fat people eat too much, which you have said. If you want a "true" risk assessment, get an individual policy, which has been known to save people money, because they are in good health. I am not sure if this can be done anymore, though.
My work here is, finally, done.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,249
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9/4/2015 5:51:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/4/2015 5:24:43 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 9/4/2015 3:16:21 PM, Todd0611 wrote:
Posted this in miscellaneous, didn't get any traction (maybe people don't look at the misc forum?). Just curious...

Wasn't sure if this should go under health, society, or another forum.
I started smoking in my mid 20's, and just quit this past year (9 months no cigs-smoked for about 16 years). I worked for a company that charged me about $12/month more for my health insurance, however, I never went in to see the doctor for a "smoking" related illness. I get the logic of using a higher cost to dissuade people from smoking, but I also felt like I was being discriminated against because I was a "smoker". I'm kind of surprised that in the modern age of the "I got my rights!!!" viewpoint, that no one has tried to file a lawsuit to change this policy (maybe they have, but I haven't researched).

At the time, I questioned why didn't the insurance companies charge fat, and overweight people more for their health insurance, I mean some of the same logic applies. If you smoke, you may have to go to the doctor for high blood pressure, same thing with people that are overweight. People will say, well you "chose" to smoke, so you are putting your health at risk; same thing applies to people who overeat. They choose to eat more than they should, or they don't exercise, both of which can cause health issues. I'm not talking about the exceptions, genetic defects, and others, but just average people, who could have avoided health problems, if they watched their diet.

I also knew plenty of people who smoked the "herb", but weren't regular smokers (of cigarettes), and they didn't have to pay more for their insurance either. One step further, what about people who drink too much, would you charge more for people who had "beer guts"? They also have a choice like smokers, not to drink as much, or quit. I am a retired smoker, so this does not effect me anymore, but just wanted your thoughts on the topic, thanks.

Google actuary tables to find your answer.
At issue is the cost of health insurance - how much is a smoker going to cost me? It is a risk analysis, and smokers are a clear cut demographic, similar to age, and unlike weight.

Smokers are a higher health risk, this is a fact.
Overweight people, due to being fat, are, too, however, how is this quickly ascertained? Asking my height and weight? BMI?
This is a quick question in group rates to assess risk.

Why do we charge more for old people? Pre-existing conditions? Thrill seekers, like sky divers?It's all about risk.
The weight issue isn't necessarily about weight, it is more about nutrition and/or exercise, but not all fat people eat too much, which you have said. If you want a "true" risk assessment, get an individual policy, which has been known to save people money, because they are in good health. I am not sure if this can be done anymore, though.

That would be funny if the fatties paid extra taxes for corn and soy based junkfood and then go around and use some of that tax money to produce and subsidize more of it with farm bills...ha ha...ha ha... oh, wait....
Todd0611
Posts: 99
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9/4/2015 6:06:05 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/4/2015 5:24:43 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 9/4/2015 3:16:21 PM, Todd0611 wrote:
Posted this in miscellaneous, didn't get any traction (maybe people don't look at the misc forum?). Just curious...

Wasn't sure if this should go under health, society, or another forum.
I started smoking in my mid 20's, and just quit this past year (9 months no cigs-smoked for about 16 years). I worked for a company that charged me about $12/month more for my health insurance, however, I never went in to see the doctor for a "smoking" related illness. I get the logic of using a higher cost to dissuade people from smoking, but I also felt like I was being discriminated against because I was a "smoker". I'm kind of surprised that in the modern age of the "I got my rights!!!" viewpoint, that no one has tried to file a lawsuit to change this policy (maybe they have, but I haven't researched).

At the time, I questioned why didn't the insurance companies charge fat, and overweight people more for their health insurance, I mean some of the same logic applies. If you smoke, you may have to go to the doctor for high blood pressure, same thing with people that are overweight. People will say, well you "chose" to smoke, so you are putting your health at risk; same thing applies to people who overeat. They choose to eat more than they should, or they don't exercise, both of which can cause health issues. I'm not talking about the exceptions, genetic defects, and others, but just average people, who could have avoided health problems, if they watched their diet.

I also knew plenty of people who smoked the "herb", but weren't regular smokers (of cigarettes), and they didn't have to pay more for their insurance either. One step further, what about people who drink too much, would you charge more for people who had "beer guts"? They also have a choice like smokers, not to drink as much, or quit. I am a retired smoker, so this does not effect me anymore, but just wanted your thoughts on the topic, thanks.

Google actuary tables to find your answer.
At issue is the cost of health insurance - how much is a smoker going to cost me? It is a risk analysis, and smokers are a clear cut demographic, similar to age, and unlike weight.

Smokers are a higher health risk, this is a fact.
Overweight people, due to being fat, are, too, however, how is this quickly ascertained? Asking my height and weight? BMI?
This is a quick question in group rates to assess risk.

Why do we charge more for old people? Pre-existing conditions? Thrill seekers, like sky divers?It's all about risk.
The weight issue isn't necessarily about weight, it is more about nutrition and/or exercise, but not all fat people eat too much, which you have said. If you want a "true" risk assessment, get an individual policy, which has been known to save people money, because they are in good health. I am not sure if this can be done anymore, though.

I guess I want to know if that could be considered discrimination, since the insurance company is "signaling out" smokers specifically. If I receive my insurance through a government sponsored healthcare market, don't I have protection under the law to not be discriminated against. Again, I am not a smoker any longer, but would think some lawyer out there could make a case that the insurance company is being bias. Just looking for discussion/thoughts, since common sense explains why smokers get charged more. IMO, that opens the door to charge higher premiums on other "riskier" groups.
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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9/4/2015 6:08:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/4/2015 6:06:05 PM, Todd0611 wrote:

I guess I want to know if that could be considered discrimination, since the insurance company is "signaling out" smokers specifically. If I receive my insurance through a government sponsored healthcare market, don't I have protection under the law to not be discriminated against. Again, I am not a smoker any longer, but would think some lawyer out there could make a case that the insurance company is being bias. Just looking for discussion/thoughts, since common sense explains why smokers get charged more. IMO, that opens the door to charge higher premiums on other "riskier" groups.

Discrimination is only illegal of protected classes, and, as I said, other groups are charged more.
And, if discrimination can be proven necessary, it is legal. For example, not hiring male strippers at a strip club. Charging older people more than younger people is very much legal, as it is very much necessary.
My work here is, finally, done.
TBR
Posts: 9,991
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9/5/2015 9:31:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/4/2015 3:16:21 PM, Todd0611 wrote:
Posted this in miscellaneous, didn't get any traction (maybe people don't look at the misc forum?). Just curious...

Wasn't sure if this should go under health, society, or another forum.
I started smoking in my mid 20's, and just quit this past year (9 months no cigs-smoked for about 16 years). I worked for a company that charged me about $12/month more for my health insurance, however, I never went in to see the doctor for a "smoking" related illness. I get the logic of using a higher cost to dissuade people from smoking, but I also felt like I was being discriminated against because I was a "smoker". I'm kind of surprised that in the modern age of the "I got my rights!!!" viewpoint, that no one has tried to file a lawsuit to change this policy (maybe they have, but I haven't researched).

At the time, I questioned why didn't the insurance companies charge fat, and overweight people more for their health insurance, I mean some of the same logic applies. If you smoke, you may have to go to the doctor for high blood pressure, same thing with people that are overweight. People will say, well you "chose" to smoke, so you are putting your health at risk; same thing applies to people who overeat. They choose to eat more than they should, or they don't exercise, both of which can cause health issues. I'm not talking about the exceptions, genetic defects, and others, but just average people, who could have avoided health problems, if they watched their diet.

I also knew plenty of people who smoked the "herb", but weren't regular smokers (of cigarettes), and they didn't have to pay more for their insurance either. One step further, what about people who drink too much, would you charge more for people who had "beer guts"? They also have a choice like smokers, not to drink as much, or quit. I am a retired smoker, so this does not effect me anymore, but just wanted your thoughts on the topic, thanks.

Its not a matter if you had any problems during the time, it is that you are in a pool that DOES cost more.
ford_prefect
Posts: 4,138
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9/9/2015 3:13:50 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Here's another question: why are car insurance companies allowed to discriminate based on age and gender (teenage male drivers pay astronomically high rates because they are more accident prone, on average)?

But health insurance companies don't discriminate based on sex (women consume more health care than men, on average)...

How is this fair? Either it's ok to discriminate based on immutable characteristics, or it's not.
Todd0611
Posts: 99
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9/9/2015 4:07:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/4/2015 6:08:53 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 9/4/2015 6:06:05 PM, Todd0611 wrote:

I guess I want to know if that could be considered discrimination, since the insurance company is "signaling out" smokers specifically. If I receive my insurance through a government sponsored healthcare market, don't I have protection under the law to not be discriminated against. Again, I am not a smoker any longer, but would think some lawyer out there could make a case that the insurance company is being bias. Just looking for discussion/thoughts, since common sense explains why smokers get charged more. IMO, that opens the door to charge higher premiums on other "riskier" groups.

Discrimination is only illegal of protected classes, and, as I said, other groups are charged more.
And, if discrimination can be proven necessary, it is legal. For example, not hiring male strippers at a strip club. Charging older people more than younger people is very much legal, as it is very much necessary.

Thanks, that's what I was missing before when I was thinking about the discrimination angle. "Protected Classes" is what I didn't take into account, and obviously, smokers don't fall into that category.
Ryrymase90
Posts: 7
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9/25/2015 7:48:17 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
No they should pay less, while non smokers will be sticking around til they're 90 and costing the health care system a bunch of money smokers will die early