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. #1
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    When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Fill in the blank.

    I'd put more options if there was enough room. If you choose "other", please explain.

    Do you think people should pay a set amount, but if someone lives a healthier lifestyle he/she should get discounts on their rates? Or maybe people pay a set amount but the more unhealthy one lives the more they pay? Or maybe some other option? Again, explain.

    I personally feel people who live healthier lives should have to pay less, or people who live less healthy lives should pay more. But then, how do doctors gauge someone's overall health? Someone can say they don't smoke but really do. Or say they eat healthy but really don't. Doctors can only work off of what they see once or twice (sometimes less) a year. Not to mention insurance companies never see the patients (to my knowledge), so how do they know the doctor is being honest? And there are so many different ways to live healthy / unhealthy... how would one gauge everything?
    Last edited by Jucon; 08-17-10 at 01:02 PM.
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jucon View Post
    Fill in the blank.

    I'd put more options if there was enough room. If you choose "other", please explain.

    Do you think people should pay a set amount, but if someone lives a healthier lifestyle he/she should get discounts on their rates? Or maybe people pay a set amount but the more unhealthy one lives the more they pay? Or maybe some other option? Again, explain.

    I personally feel people who live healthier lives should have to pay less, or people who live less healthy lives should pay more. But then, how do doctors gauge someone's overall health. Someone can say they don't smoke but really do. Or say they eat healthy but really don't. Doctors can only work off of what they see once or twice (sometimes less) a year. Not to mention insurance companies never see the patients (to my knowledge), so how do they know the doctor is being honest? And there are so many different ways to live healthy/unhealthy... how would one gauge everything?
    Health insurance premiums should be based on age.

    How about risky lifestyles? Skydiving? SCUBA? Motorcycles? How about family history of disease which is probably the most accurate way to predict disease? Should we start doing DNA analysis? The whole idea behind insurance is that the healthy help pay for the sick. To rate premiums any other way would be a logistical nightmare and a gross invasion of privacy.
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jucon View Post
    Fill in the blank.

    I'd put more options if there was enough room. If you choose "other", please explain.

    Do you think people should pay a set amount, but if someone lives a healthier lifestyle he/she should get discounts on their rates? Or maybe people pay a set amount but the more unhealthy one lives the more they pay? Or maybe some other option? Again, explain.

    I personally feel people who live healthier lives should have to pay less, or people who live less healthy lives should pay more. But then, how do doctors gauge someone's overall health? Someone can say they don't smoke but really do. Or say they eat healthy but really don't. Doctors can only work off of what they see once or twice (sometimes less) a year. Not to mention insurance companies never see the patients (to my knowledge), so how do they know the doctor is being honest? And there are so many different ways to live healthy / unhealthy... how would one gauge everything?
    All those things are potentially valid reasons to increase or decrease insurance premiums.

    The key to over all lower premiums, is to get away from copays and coverage for primary and routine care.
    You can't insure against those without it costing a lot of money.
    Last edited by Harry Guerrilla; 08-17-10 at 01:32 PM.
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    when it's of better quality, i don't think personal factors should play a part.
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Insurance is nothing but spreading risk of cost across a number of people. This leads to the natural conclusion that the more of a risk you are, the more you should pay to have your risk covered.

    All of the options noted except one represent some potential for additinal risk and therefore support charging an additional cost for coverage.

    The exception is, obviously, 'can afford it'.

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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    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.
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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.
    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?

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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    I voted for smoking and overweight. These are lifestyle choices that are preventable. But even here, I don't think that insurance providers should be able to charge whatever they want...there should be a limit to how much extra they can charge smokers and overweight people. Maybe twice as much per month.

    Regarding the other choices...

    Underweight - In the United States, this is usually genetic far more often than it is lifestyle-related. This makes it fundamentally different from being overweight IMO, and people shouldn't be charged extra.

    Don't exercise - This is a lifestyle choice, but it's far too subjective and too difficult to enforce. I'm not sure that there's any effective way for insurers to measure this when calculating your premiums. If there is a reliable way to reward an active lifestyle, I don't have a problem with it though.

    Don't eat a balanced diet - Same as the previous one.

    Have a previous medical condition - Absolutely not. People with medical conditions need insurance more than anyone. The flipside of this, however, is that healthy people should be required to buy insurance to prevent people from gaming the system.

    Have a family history of a condition - No. Same reasoning as above...and in this case, it's genetic so people have absolutely no control over it. I think it should be illegal to discriminate against someone based on their genes for almost ANY reason.

    Are older - Ideally, no. It would be better to have everyone pay the same amount regardless of age, to smooth out the cost of medical care over the course of one's life instead of cramming the entire cost into the last couple decades. This would help people make better financial plans for their lives. However, realistically this isn't going to happen. Anything that narrows the gap (such as preventing health insurers from charging more than 3 times to older people what they charge to younger people) would be an improvement.

    Can afford it - No...at least not directly. Everyone should be charged the same from their health insurer regardless of their income. However, I support programs like Medicaid, and I support having the government subsidize health insurance costs for those who are poor and/or can't afford it.
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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?
    The guy with the speeding tickets CHOSE to drive recklessly. No one chooses to get leukemia.

    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. 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. However, it's simply not that big of a deal since auto insurance costs are considerably lower and less important than health insurance costs. It just isn't worth the hassle of regulating auto insurance more heavily.
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  10. #10
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    Re: When should health insurance cost more for someone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    The guy with the speeding tickets CHOSE to drive recklessly. No one chooses to get leukemia.

    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. 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. However, it's simply not that big of a deal since auto insurance costs are considerably lower and less important than health insurance costs. It just isn't worth the hassle of regulating auto insurance more heavily.
    What about people who mismanage their pre existing conditions?
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