Should Insurance Companies Be Allowed to Charge Obese Patients More?

Obesity Is Risky

There are several aspects of insurance that many of us seem to misunderstand. Insurance costs, be it car, life, health, or lightning insurance, represents the amount of risk undertaken by insurance companies to insure you.

This fact is one reason why health insurance rates have been increasing – people are not as responsible with their health as they should be. Another reason is that with the increase in preventive medical care (i.e. lots of preventative medical tests et al), medical costs have risen. These reasons are several of the main causes of high insurance premiums.

These reasons make sense – hurricane insurance would cost more in North Carolina than it would in, say, Kansas. The same would apply to wheat insurance in Kansas, or whatever they like to insure there. The point is, wherever the risk for getting a pay out is higher, insurance companies are forced to increase premiums.

Where obese people are concerned, insurance companies can and should use the same logic. It is a fact that obese people are more likely than healthy people to contract type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, triglycerides, and high cholesterol, all of which are extraordinary health risks (http://www.webmd.com/diet/tc/obesity-health-risks-of-obesity second paragraph).

Since the vast majority of people who are obese are people who can prevent it, the responsibility should fall on their shoulders to make themselves healthy. Not only will be it be smarter from a financial standpoint, but there is absolutely no negative to getting healthy. For example, if obese patients were to lose ten percent of their body fat, their lifetime medical costs could be reduced $2,200 to $5,300 (http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/efan04004/efan04004g.pdf page 1, first paragraph). So it is clear that beyond the obvious physical benefits that can be attained from taking obesity into people’s own hands, the financial benefits are staggering. Not only could people reduce their medical costs, their insurance premiums would immediately drop as well.

To make a long story short, insurance represents risks of insurance, and since obesity, for the large part, represents something that patients can prevent, insurance companies should be allowed to increase costs for patients who are clinically obese.

Chris Buchheit

Chris Buchheit

Chris Buchheit was born under the hot Floridian sun during some year in the 1980s. There he studied school matters until moving to North Carolina in 1999. Possibly due to the fact that his mom had enough of him being inside all the time, he quickly got involved in community affairs via the Boy Scouts of America, where he learned the values of citizenship, morality, duty to God and country, and that the biggest kids get to boss around the smaller ones. Chris attained the rank of Eagle Scout in 2004, and still values the rank as one of his proudest achievements. Beginning in 2006, Chris began attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he quickly learned the value of basketball and poplar trees. Since attending UNC, Chris has been double majoring in Asian Studies, with a concentration in Chinese, and Political Science. When he isn’t slaving over his honors thesis, looking up a bunch of Chinese Characters, volunteering, or mindlessly browsing the same websites over and over, Chris enjoys writing short stories and novels. Much to his roommates’ annoyance, he also spends his free time learning to play the guitar. Above all else, though, Chris values God, his family, and his friends. For the future, Chris plans to apply to Georgetown to further his studies in Political Science, hopefully with a concentration on China. Pending acceptance into Georgetown, Chris would like to study while gaining professional experience in a government job in Washington DC.
Chris Buchheit

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