TASK: WRITE A SUBSTANTIVE RESPONSE (Minimum 50 words) TO THE 2 DISCUSSION POSTS THAT MY CLASSMATES SUBMITTED.
TOPIC OF DISCUSSION:
- Would you be upset if your insurance rates increased due to “overconsumption of unhealthy substances?”
- What sort of statistics or probabilities would you need to see to convince you that this “unhealthy substance bump” in insurance rates was justified?
Obtaining health care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could cost smokers as much as 50% more than non-smokers (with all other factors being equal). Is this fair? Many say it is more than fair. Consider the fact that smoking kills 443,000 Americans each year at an annual cost to the nation of $193 billion in medical care and lost productivity. Smokers are much more likely to get sick, miss work due to illness, and incur costly medical treatment.
We have an incredible amount of statistics and probabilities related to illness, hospitalization, and the associated costs that justify the ACA smoker rates. But in charging smokers more for their healthcare, have we just jumped on a very slippery slope? What if the government decided that ice cream eaters who indulge in a bowl of Chocolate Cherry Nut Fiesta each night should be charged more for insurance? What if every time you bought a half-gallon (or a 5-quart tub) of ice cream your purchase was entered into a database and your ice cream consumption was counted?
Do insurance companies have any business making rate determinations based on statistics that accurately describe personal choices?
“Personally, I would not be upset with a rate increase for unhealhty eating/and or overconsumption. Obesity is at epidemic rates right now and if we can curb people or have them literally put their money where their mouth is I dont see this as a problem. According to the CDC, currently 34.9% of American adults are obese – which then translates into medical issues, social issues and poor production by society as a whole (Centers for Disease Control 2016). When one third of our country is obese, we ALL end up paying for it whether it be through insurance hikes or otherwise.
This brought to mind the recent soda tax in Phildelphia and the pending soda tax in Oakland and Boulder. The revenue gained will be used to fund educational programs. This sounds like a win-win to me.”
“Most insurance companies, even prior to the ACA had rate hikes for smokers. However, because most smokers are aware of this rate hike, they often go out of their way to lie on their insurance applications. I think that the rate hike is a justified one with the research that has been done. However, I think that there needs to be a way to validate and define a “smoker.”
Also, I think that if there are higher rates for smokers, there should also be higher rates for obese individuals, drinkers, etc. and lower rates offered to those who go out of their way to live a healthy lifestyle. It does not make sense that they would single out smokers specifically. The number one most deadly disease in the US is heart disease, which is often a side effect of obesity, so in my opinion, a rate hike on obese patients would be justified as well. The fact that these things lead to a higher probability of disease, cancer, hospitalizations, etc. should be enough to justify the increase. Just as your car insurance rates are higher when you are younger because there is a higher probability of people under 25 getting into accidents. “