Monday, October 16, 2006

The future of health insurance???

. Monday, October 16, 2006

There was an article in the Washington Post about a company that has a unique health insurance program. They require employees and family members to, amongst other things, quit smoking. Employees and family members must submit to tests to prove that they are not smoking. If they do smoke, they are subject to paying some sort of financial penalty. Obviously, this is being done to keep health care costs down.

Part of me agrees with this policy. Why should part of my premiums (which are already high enough) have to pay for medical treatment for someone else's unhealthy life style? Certainly, smokers statistically have higher medical costs than non-smokers.

Now some of you may think that this is discriminatory in some fashion, but I would argue that if you don't like the benefits package then DON'T WORK THERE! I imagine that there are a fair number of people who have no problem submitting to these requirements and any testing in order to get more affordable health care.

Now the other part of me worries about WHERE DOES THIS END?!?! Are they going to have weigh-ins?

"Bill, you're going to have to lose 20 pounds in the next year or your premium is going to go up."

What if in the near future, employers require you to submit to genetic testing?

"Sorry, Mr. Smith. You're genetically disposed to heart disease and cancer. You're premium will be twice as much as Mr. Jones who isn't disposed to those conditions. "

So on one hand, I sort of support higher premiums for smokers but I don't like where this is ultimately going.