If you're overweight and work for the State of Alabama, it'll soon cause you $25 to work every month. Alabama, ranked third fattest in the nation (behind Mississippi and West Virginia) will be the first to charge state workers for not slimming down:
The state has given its 37,527 employees a year to start getting fit or they'll pay $25 a month for insurance that otherwise is free. [...]
The State Employees' Insurance Board this week approved a plan to charge state workers starting in January 2010 if they don't have free health screenings.
If the screenings turn up serious problems with blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose or obesity, employees will have a year to see a doctor at no cost, enroll in a wellness program or take steps on their own to improve their health. If they show progress in a follow-up screening, they won't be charged. But if they don't, they must pay starting in January 2011.
A sensible approach or is it just Big Brother?
This is such Puritanical witchhunt tripe. Why not start off schools with gardening/cooking classes and good PE, and try to find a longterm solution?
If they were smart, they would leave Alabama. If people started moving out, they would change the law.
It baffles me that people wouldn't want to be take advantage of something like this and improve their health. Sure, you have a right to destroy your body... but if you're going to do so, you shouldn't expect other people to foot the bill. If you want to remain big and "beautiful", don't expect your employer or other taxpayers to pay for it. It comes down to personal responsibility, and that's something that a lot of people still don't want to accept.
The program should be really written,though. With well defined standards and with well defined exceptions. Like that you should have to fail more than one standard to have to pay the surcharge. Like if you fail the cholesterol test AND the BMI test or the blood pressure test and the weight test. That way people that are obviously fit healthy people with one strange characteristic aren't charged unfairly. Like I saw something once where they were showing pro athletes, obviously at the peak of health, and that their BMIs would be considered obese. Also there should be noted exceptions for people with other medical conditions that would make it impossible for them to get fit enough to meet the standards. I'd hate for someone with a serious heart condition to be expected to excercise enough to be fit or someone with an untreatable thyroid condition fined for being heavy.
But seriously, even with the surcharge, it's 25 dollars a month. I'd be THRILLED to only pay 25 dollars a month and have health insurance! Absolutely delighted!
Maybe health insurance should be more like car insurance, with statistical risk factors factored into what rate you'll pay. A 24 year old single man with a red sportscar and a bad driving record is going to have to pay more for car insurance than a 50 year old married father with a mini-van and perfectly clean record. It makes sense. It works that way with home owner's insurance,too. It costs you more to insure a house on a Florida beach than it does a house where there's no chance of hurricane damage. Why not health insurance? If you have known risk factors that are going to cost more when the insurance has to pay out, why should your rates be the same as people with bodies that are known to be cheaper to maintain? And it's still a bargain if you have to pay the higher rate, since your risk of needing the insurance is higher. Like if you're the young guy with the sports car, yeah, you are likely to wreck, so it's worth paying more to have insurance to cover it when it happens. If you're the morbidly obese chain smoker, you're likely to have a heart attack, so it's worth paying more for insurance to cover it when it happens. If you're a safe driver with a safe car, you aren't as likely to ever use the insurance, so it's better for you to have lower monthly premiums. If you're a healthy person, you aren't as likely to be hospitalized, so lower monthly premimums are a plus.