View Poll Results: (Fill in the blank) People should pay more for health insurance if they _________.

Voters
39. You may not vote on this poll
  • smoke

    28 71.79%
  • are overweight

    19 48.72%
  • are underweight

    8 20.51%
  • don't exercise on a normal basis or aren't active

    10 25.64%
  • don't eat a balanced diet

    9 23.08%
  • have a previous medical condition

    12 30.77%
  • have a family history of a medical condition

    6 15.38%
  • are older

    16 41.03%
  • can afford it

    3 7.69%
  • Other (explain)

    10 25.64%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

  1. #11
    Banned Goobieman's Avatar
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Regarding the other variables that you mentioned (the age and gender of the applicant, and the type of car), ideally that wouldn't play a factor for auto insurance.
    Younger make drivers w/poor records are demonstrably a greater risk than older women w/ clean records.
    New sports cars cost more to fix than older minivans.
    Why would/should these things not play a factor?

    For what it's worth, it's NOT fair that insurers would assume that someone is more of a risk based solely on their demographics rather than their actions.
    Actuarial science disagrees.

  2. #12
    Educator Jucon's Avatar
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    Maybe age, but that's not really the purpose of insurance. Insurance is to aggregate risk over a large population. Therefore, everyone pays the same as we are all pooling our resources to aggregate our risk. The insurance companies may loose out on a few, but it will net on many more. If at some point you start charging more for specific behavior and risk, you've broken the model of aggregated risk. At that point, you're just up front charging based on specific risks involved. That's more a market value for that behavior and if we go that route; there's no point in having insurance. It's not insurance at that point as much as it is a health "savings account"; which won't pay out without a fight when you need it. Pretty useless. So either we use insurance as it's meant to be used, in some chosen aggregation of risk across a large population; or we don't have it at all and try to do something about health costs so that people can address the situation on an individual basis.
    I somewhat agree, but I'll use car insurance for example... If you have gotten a ticket, have been in an accident, are younger, or are a male, your rates more than likely will go up. The evidence of a ticket or accident indicates (at least to the insurance company) you are more of a risk. The trouble with health insurance is there is little evidence of your health risk (besides personal/family history, age, and your current condition). I feel this is something that should be addressed. My point is, like driving a car, some people are less of a risk than others... and therefore I believe those who are less of a risk (and will be less of a burden to the insurance company) should pay less. This idea is simply day dreaming however, as unless people are 100% honest (or the health insurance company becomes intrusive into your life) this kind of system would be completely flawed.
    Last edited by Jucon; 08-17-10 at 05:10 PM.
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  3. #13
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    What about people who mismanage their pre existing conditions?
    I voted for smoking and obesity as examples of situations where insurers should be allowed to charge people more (within reason). Beyond that, it's too difficult for insurers to police people's lifestyles without invading their privacy IMO. If there's a reasonable way to do it, I don't have a problem with insurers checking to see if people are managing their lifestyle well, and rewarding them for healthy lifestyles and punishing people for unhealthy lifestyles. In fact, it could be a good thing if done correctly. Maybe the financial incentive for healthy living would actually encourage people to be more healthy.

    But I think it's important to draw a distinction between an unhealthy lifestyle, and an actual preexisting condition that typically RESULTS from that lifestyle. For example, I think insurers should be able to charge more for smoking, but not for having lung cancer as a preexisting condition. I think insurers should be able to charge overweight people more, but not people who have type II diabetes as a preexisting condition.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 08-17-10 at 05:11 PM.
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  4. #14
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman View Post
    Does this same argument apply to, say, car insurance?

    A 19-yr old guy w/ 3 speeding tickets driving a corvette should be charged the same as a 45yr old mother with no tickets for the last 25 years driving a 7-yr old minivan?
    Yup. Well I did say "maybe age", so there's always that argument. However, it's the same point. We're collectivizing our risks together. Now with car insurance it's a bit tougher because everyone is required to have it. And at that point, you too no longer have insurance. Once everyone is in, the insurance company can no longer bet against the bad risks with the good risks because you have the full complement of both. Of course, even though car wrecks happen often and consume over 3000 lives a year, it's still relatively low probability and often times many people get through life with minimal accidents and tickets. So the insurance company will win big with those guys (since they are required to pay in). However, the purpose of insurance is to spread risk across a huge number of people. It doesn't deal with specific risks to individuals based off of individual action. You're collectivizing all the risk aggregated across a large population.
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  5. #15
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman View Post
    Younger make drivers w/poor records are demonstrably a greater risk than older women w/ clean records.
    The poor driving record is a lifestyle choice that the applicants can control, and should of course be a factor in determining premiums. No one can control their age or (with rare exceptions) their gender. So yes, ideally it isn't fair. But I'm not about to crusade for equal opportunity auto insurance, because frankly I don't care that much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman
    New sports cars cost more to fix than older minivans.
    Oh I thought you meant from the perspective of the drivers being more likely to be reckless. If you're just looking at the cost of repairing the vehicle, I agree that insurers should take that into account.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman
    Actuarial science disagrees.
    Cool.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 08-17-10 at 05:16 PM.
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I voted for smoking and obesity as examples of situations where insurers should be allowed to charge people more (within reason). Beyond that, it's too difficult for insurers to police people's lifestyles without invading their privacy IMO. If there's a reasonable way to do it, I don't have a problem with insurers checking to see if people are managing their lifestyle well, and rewarding them for healthy lifestyles and punishing people for unhealthy lifestyles. In fact, it could be a good thing if done correctly. Maybe the financial incentive for healthy living would actually encourage people to be more healthy.

    But I think it's important to draw a distinction between an unhealthy lifestyle, and an actual preexisting condition that typically RESULTS from that lifestyle. For example, I think insurers should be able to charge more for smoking, but not for having lung cancer as a preexisting condition. I think insurers should be able to charge overweight people more, but not people who have type II diabetes as a preexisting condition.
    Personally I disagree. I feel that someone with diabetes or many other previous conditions should pay more than someone without them. I'm not saying they should pay an extreme amount more... I'm just saying they should pay more in general.
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  7. #17
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I voted for smoking and obesity as examples of situations where insurers should be allowed to charge people more (within reason). Beyond that, it's too difficult for insurers to police people's lifestyles without invading their privacy IMO. If there's a reasonable way to do it, I don't have a problem with insurers checking to see if people are managing their lifestyle well, and rewarding them for healthy lifestyles and punishing people for unhealthy lifestyles. In fact, it could be a good thing if done correctly. Maybe the financial incentive for healthy living would actually encourage people to be more healthy.

    But I think it's important to draw a distinction between an unhealthy lifestyle, and an actual preexisting condition that typically RESULTS from that lifestyle. For example, I think insurers should be able to charge more for smoking, but not for having lung cancer as a preexisting condition. I think insurers should be able to charge overweight people more, but not people who have type II diabetes as a preexisting condition.
    I'm saying that, if a person has lung cancer and still smokes.
    In some cases, diabetes can be controlled through diet.

    What about for things like that?
    Last edited by Harry Guerrilla; 08-17-10 at 05:21 PM.
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  8. #18
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jucon View Post
    Personally I disagree. I feel that someone with diabetes or many other previous conditions should pay more than someone without them. I'm not saying they should pay an extreme amount more... I'm just saying they should pay more in general.
    Then why have insurance? Why not just do something about the market price of medical treatment and allow people to reap the repercussions and consequences of their actions or circumstances?
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  9. #19
    Banned Goobieman's Avatar
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    The poor driving record is a lifestyle choice that the applicants can control, and should of course be a factor in determining premiums. No one can control their age or (with rare exceptions) their gender. So yes, ideally it isn't fair.
    As I said - actuarial science disagrees. Older women are, statistically, less of a risk then younger men.
    Why should they be charged the same?

    But I'm not about to crusade for equal opportunity auto insurance, because frankly I don't care that much.
    Its the same thing. An argument for one applies to the other.

    Oh I thought you meant from the perspective of the drivers being more likely to be reckless. If you're just looking at it from the cost of repairing the vehicle, I agree that insurers should take that into account.
    Good.
    Doesnt that also then apply to health insurance?

  10. #20
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman View Post
    As I said - actuarial science disagrees. Older women are, statistically, less of a risk then younger men.
    Why should they be charged the same?
    Because that's the point of insurance. Statistically one group may be at more risk than another; but that doesn't speak to the individual and the individual is whom is paying into the system.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

    Quote Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
    "I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it."

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