Growing prices and expanding waists. When speaking about the costs of insuring your health these two definitions seem to blend into one big problem. And when you’re getting another super-sized meal or a cheap fast food snack, you know you’re going to pay much more in the long run, and those dollars are already ticking on your insurance rates. That is, leaving your personal health issues out of the frame, of course. When obesity becomes a very serious concern for the national healthcare industry, you have to understand that it’s your wallet that will become much thinner, not your waist.
Pounds and dollars
The cost of insuring your health has been on a dramatic rise during the last coupe of years. Many tend to refer such tendency to the fact that all services are getting more expensive, especially in other domains of insurance and this leads to a chain reaction. But the fact is that people have started going to the doctor’s office more frequently than in the past. Is it just a psychological need to consult with a doctor or there’s something serious happening with the nation? Unfortunately, the latter seems to be the right answer. And the cause for such a problem is simple: obesity. It may be a simple coincidence, but insurance costs have started to increase pretty much at the same time as more Americans were becoming overweight and obese. Today, about 60% of US citizens qualify for obesity or overweight, and children are no exception. There’s no need to remind you the fact that obesity leads to various heart diseases, diabetes, strokes and even certain types of cancer. And you don’t have to be a scientist or a financial analyst to realize the connection between the costs of insurance and obesity from that perspective. Short fact: in 2000 alone the losses to American economy caused by obesity were estimated for $117 billion USD.
Obesity and Insurance
Of course, the insurance companies realize that obesity isn’t quite profitable. In case you are an overweight person trying to find good health insurance coverage, there’s a rather high probability that most companies will even turn down your application because of the many associated health risk factors. Or you will be charged with much higher fees than your slimmer friends. Speaking about discrimination. But you have to understand the insurer’s point of view as well: they try to minimize their risks and expenditures, and dealing with an obese person that has a much higher potential of developing a serious disease is not their definition of a less-risky deal. Even your employer-sponsored insurance is likely to cost you more, and not only you, but your co-workers as well.
Now that is not a cause for the slim people to accuse obese individuals for forcing the insurers to raise their fees. There are many other factors contributing to the problem as well, like the increase in prices for prescription drugs or costly medical services. But the fact remains the same, obesity affects not only persons suffering from it but the entire nation too. And the problem has to be addressed on a national scale, not because of health insurance costs but primarily for the sake of public health.