Don't have an account? To participate in discussions consider signing up or signing in
facebook connect
Sign-up, its free! Close [x]

Benefits

  • okay Create lasting relationships with other like minded women.
  • okay Blogging, let your voice be heard!
  • okay Interact with other women through blogs,questions and groups.
  • okay Photo Album, upload your most recent vacation pictures.
  • okay Contests, Free weekly prize drawing.
  • okay Weekly Newsletter.


I knew it was coming. It has been predicted for years. Hospitals were some of the first to implement higher premiums for their unhealthy employees. My mom  was a part of a plan like that 5 or 6 years ago.
Just this week I heard about Alabama’s Fat Tax. Alabama state employees will be ‘taxed’ extra based on their BMI and other biomarkers of health. It is coming folks, to the the insurance company nearest you! In defense of insurance companies, they really don’t have much choice. If you look at statistics without applying reality, the cost of healthcare will consume ALL of our country’s income in the next 20 or so years.
Of course this is ludicrous, but the point is something has to change. Drug companies would like us to think the answer is a pill for every ill, but realistically it can't work that way, unless they plan to house us and feed us. Why do I say that? Because at the rate we're going, we'll be channeling all our resources into maintenance drugs.  

I am curious what other think? I may put this out there as a question.... Do you have insurance with varying premiums? What do you think about trying to offset costs this way?



  •  

Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Trudy S wrote Feb 3, 2009
    • I think it is sad that it has come to this.  Lets talk about big government....now even our food choices are being legislated.  GACK!

      However, if we had that here maybe my husband would start watching what he eats instead of eating himself into an early grave.



            Report  Reply


    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Feb 3, 2009
    • Trudy,
      I think it is sad too, but the system is collapsing on itself. IF they have to regulate, I’d rather see them adding ‘risk’ taxes to unhealthy food choices which would increase availability (by demand) of healthier, more organically inclined selections. If there were ingredients that were targeted as ‘unhealthy’ like high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, MSG, nitrates, etc. the end result would be companies would move away from them and towards more healhty alternatives.
      I often feel like a voice, crying in the wilderness. I am sure you can relate! estatic



            Report  Reply


    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Feb 3, 2009
    • What’s even sadder, Dee Dee, is that the companies that rely so heavily on those unhealthy ingredients are (typically) the same entities making the big bucks off the pills we are so readily prescribed to counter the effects of those ingredients.  

      I don’t agree with the “Fat Tax“, but I don’t agree with the pill for any ill policy, either. It all boils down to the changes I can make for me and my family. And I’m trying!



            Report  Reply


    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Feb 3, 2009
    • It’s true Heather- but if you suggest that people think you are promoting a conspiracy theory or, in my case, think I am just trying to sell them supplements.
      I just want people to be aware; own their own health, and realize that if they don’t do something proactive, they are being sucked into a vaccuum that defies being Optimally Healthy. Sure, I’d like to share the same supplements with others that have restored my health, but mostly I want people to understand that we live with our choices - not just today, but for years to come. Cancer isn’t something we ‘get’ or catch like a cold. It is the end result when we continually expose ourselves to toxins on every level and do nothing to support our immune systems which are woefully deficient in the nutrients our bodies HAVE to have to funcion properly. It is no wonder we have a better than 50% chance of being diagnosed.
      Ah, but I digress... and off topic even. LOL



            Report  Reply


    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Feb 3, 2009
    • Anybody else have an opinion or a better solution? I am seriously thinking of having a sit down with one of our local congressmen (whom I know personally.) I’d like to share answers instead of just complain about the problems.



            Report  Reply


    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Trudy S wrote Feb 3, 2009
    • Excellent idea Dee!  Do you have Health Lobby Day in your Capitol?



            Report  Reply


    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Feb 3, 2009
    • Trudy,
      My state representative is a personal friend, and resides locally. I’d much rather a friendly chat than to be a part of the chaos that occurs at the capitol. estatic



            Report  Reply


    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Darla5 wrote Feb 4, 2009
    • Here is an article on the Alabama tax

      NEWS Alabama’s Fat Tax
      posted by ERICA C. BARNETT on TUE, DEC 30 at 3:32 PM
      (Don’t like pesky reading? The Illustrated BMI Project makes most of the points below—in pictures!)

      Not trying to start a flame war here, but I have to take issue with what one of my favorite bloggers, Eric de Place, has to say on one of my favorite blogs, the Daily Score, about Alabama’s proposed “fat tax“:

      Seeing as how this year’s holiday overeating falls on the eve of a national health care debate, I give you an interesting idea from the land of all things deep-fried:
      ...the Alabama State Employees’ Insurance Board approved a plan that will charge workers an additional $25 to cover their insurance premiums, if they don’t take advantage of free health screenings available to all state employees. The program, to begin in January, will require state workers to receive medical screenings for body mass index and health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.
      [...] At first, you avoid the fee just just by talking to a doctor. You don’t have to do or pay anything further, and you don’t have to drop 40 pounds right away. Of course, given better medical information some unhealthy employees may want to do something. But that’s sort of the point.

      Where Alabama’s plan becomes “tax-like” is for obese folks who don’t show progress. A person determined to be very obese in 2009 would have until 2011 to demonstrate progress. If not, he or she would face the $25 higher premiums [per month]. Apparently, the insurance board has not yet determined what will qualify as sufficient progress to waive the fee. What is clear, at least according to this MSNBC article, is that the threshold for having to consult a doctor, and subsequently show progress, is at a Body Mass Index of 35 or higher. (For reference, that would be for a 5‘6” person weighing 217 pounds or more, or a 6‘0” person weighing at least 258 pounds.)

      Given the serious health consequences of obesity and its related ailments — not to mention the high cost of treatment — it’s hard for me to see how this isn’t a good idea. In A few simple exams, access to good information, and the opportunity to make a change. What’s not to like?

      Here’s my answer, in (I hope) brief: What’s not to like is that BMI is a pretty lousy measure of overall health.

      For example, the New York Times’ health writer, Tara Parker-Pope—no radical fat activist herself—wrote earlier this year that “there is growing evidence that our obsession about weight as a primary measure of health may be misguided.”

      Last week a report in The Archives of Internal Medicine compared weight and cardiovascular risk factors among a representative sample of more than 5,400 adults. The data suggest that half of overweight people and one-third of obese people are "metabolically healthy." That means that despite their excess pounds, many overweight and obese adults have healthy levels of "good" cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose and other risks for heart disease.
      At the same time, about one out of four slim people — those who fall into the "healthy" weight range — actually have at least two cardiovascular risk factors typically associated with obesity, the study showed.

      So if obesity isn’t the best predictor of health and mortality, what is? Overall fitness—which, interestingly, does not correspond directly with BMI. And fitness is determined almost as easily as BMI is—by having a person perform a treadmill test. Research has shown that fat people who perform well on treadmill tests are at much lower risk for health problems than skinny people who are out of shape. (A treadmill test could also help get around another potential problem with the Alabama proposal—the fact that, besides the obese, the only people who will pay a premium for health insurance are smokers. It’s easy to lie about whether you smoke; it’s harder to lie about how long you can run).

      Back to Parker-Pope:

      Those with the lowest level of fitness, as measured on treadmill tests, were four times as likely to die during the 12-year study than those with the highest level of fitness. Even those who had just a minimal level of fitness had half the risk of dying compared with those who were least fit.
      The results were adjusted to control for age, smoking and underlying heart problems and still showed that fitness, not weight, was most important in predicting mortality risk.

      Now, in general, are you more likely to be unhealthy if you‘re morbidly obese? Sure. But if there’s a more accurate way of measuring risk—one that acknowledges the fact that it’s possible to be overweight and healthy—why not use it? Forcing overweight people to go on a diet isn’t going to do anything for someone who’s thin but eats junk food, drinks heavily, and never works out. And shaming overweight but healthy people—by mandating they show up for annual weigh-ins or pay a monthly “fat tax“—doesn’t make anybody healthier.



            Report  Reply


    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Feb 4, 2009
    • Darla,
      I read that it would be enacted in 2010 with the baselines from this year. I agree that BMI isn’t always accurate, but they are also measuring other biomarkers. I like the idea of a fitness test. I know my mother’s insurance company did something similar years ago. They had ranges, and you paid a different premium depending on the range you fell in, so the goal was to get to a lower range (unfortunately it was a focus on adding drugs to drop cholesterol, etc which I think would be the reasoning behind measuring BMI)
      Anyway, it won’t be long before ALL insurance companies do this. We all pay different interest rates, depending on our credit scores. We pay different rates for life insurance based on our likelihood of keeling over.
      My concern though is that we are now in a crisis situation (or the insurance companies see their profit margins in that light) and they are having knee jerk responses. I don’t think this plan is very well thought out. That said, I also don’t think that it will ever be approached the way I suggested. Corporations who produce the mass produced foods also drive government with all the $$$ they make selling us foods that are making us unhealthy. frown



            Report  Reply


About this author View Blog » 
author