11 Responses

  1. Sysy
    Sysy April 5, 2011 at 6:15 am | | Reply

    I remember when the company I used to work for heard that other companies were beginning to charge unhealthy people extra if they were overweight or smoked.

    My company decided to pay for a drug to help people quit smoking and gave them a few free “how to quit” sessions. Then they held a health fair where people got their blood sugar and blood pressure and cholesterol tested for free at work. And then they turned an office room into a gym with a TV. I lost 20 pounds that year in that gym and was so ever grateful they took a nice and effective approach to helping people.

    Taxing people in the middle of a personal health crisis is just plain wrong.

    Great article!

  2. Christopher Westfall
    Christopher Westfall April 5, 2011 at 6:46 am | | Reply

    People with Diabetes have always been punished by the insurance world, both life and health.

    What I found was that there are life insurance companies that do not ask questions about Diabetes and, therefore, do not rate higher for life insurance for diabetics. This is key. There are only a very small handful of life insurance companies for diabetics, but it’s important to find an agent that specializes in this type of insurance.

    As Diabetes is impacting more and more people, having this information out there is critically important. Most everyone is denied, right off the bat, for life insurance through their traditional life insurance agent. This is not the end of the story!

  3. Cara
    Cara April 5, 2011 at 7:00 am | | Reply

    My employer has just started a program that includes insane premium and co-pay hikes if you don’t “get healthier”
    Sadly, it’s all about the best employer health insurance I could get……

  4. riva
    riva April 5, 2011 at 7:10 am | | Reply

    As you point out Allison, punishment doesn’t work. Helping people get healthier by making it easier does. The Finns have done that. They have the largest population of type 1, and a growing population of type 2, and they’ve turned Helsinki around to make it easy to walk and bike, and easier to get healthy food. Punishment, like fear, is not motivating, and not for long. I wrote about a similar fear tactic in NYC recently trying to scare people into giving up their sodas and frapuccinos:

  5. Richard
    Richard April 5, 2011 at 7:55 am | | Reply

    They’re already charging extra for things like smoking with extra taxes I assume? I am not up to date on the details in arizona, but I assume that as in many other places tabacco and related items are taxed heavier then other convenience items.
    As far as I know, despite the prevalence of heavy taxing of tobacco there is still alot of smoking going on. This should be a clue to people that it’s not just a money issue and that by taxing or fining certain undesired behaviour it doesn’t go away.

    As far as I’m concerned, smoking as such already has an extra tax, something extra you pay (tho again, maybe not in arizona). And I am not against this with smoking, by adding taxes to the item itself you make people who smoke more also pay more (as they buy more). Which would be way harder with the fine system I assume (beyond it being hard to find out how much one smokes, how would you exactly plan to check if people smoke…ask them? Cause people always respond well if you ask them if they want a fine).

    But being overweight is not nearly as simple as smoking, it just sounds like a system that would need to incoproate so many variabeles and adminsitration that beyond the lunacy of thinking you can make such a complex system work and factor everything in, it’s prolly gonna cost more then it will net you and it will *still* not ever be a fair system for all the reasons you mention.

    1. July 24, 2013 at 4:10 pm | | Reply

      Often times, a typical enforcement case involves over 100 interviews and boxes and boxes and thousands of pages of documents we have to go in and review.

  6. CNA Training
    CNA Training April 5, 2011 at 10:55 am | | Reply

    Punishing people for being unhealthy? Good luck with making that work! Though I definitely see the rationale, I seriously doubt that it would work to get people healthier. It comes down to a personal choice.

  7. Natalie Sera
    Natalie Sera April 5, 2011 at 11:55 am | | Reply

    CNA, in the case of obesity, it’s not EVEN a personal choice. Obesity is extremely complex, and no one has all the answers at this time. Fining ONLY the obese poor on Medicaid is the height of unfairness, or actually downright mean-ness. If the budget needs to be balanced, take it from the rich, who can afford it, even though they LOVE their money so much that it really HURTS them to part with a little. But Republicans are not big in the compassion department, and too stupid or willfully ignorant to understand what life in poverty is. Heaven forbid they should only take home enough money every year to buy 26 jetliners rather than the 27 they can currently afford!

  8. mcityrk
    mcityrk April 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm | | Reply

    How about doubling the corporate tax rate for companies whose products are enablers of unhealthy behavior…smoking, drinking, fast-food, etc and using those funds for education purposes to promote healthier life styles instead of picking on the people who have been hurt worse by the lifestyles???? Oh wait, while sensible that would be way to big-brother for most of corporate america…..never mind.

  9. When I’m Ready « Indigo Moods
    When I’m Ready « Indigo Moods April 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm |

    [...] Punitive Fees for “Unhealthy Behaviors” (Like Diabetes) ( [...]

  10. Jess Meads
    Jess Meads April 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm | | Reply

    As a patient advocate for diabetes among many conditions, I always try to encourage my friends of the importance of exercise to keep their diabetes under control. However, many people do not understand the benefits of exercise. Also, what do you think the best ways are to motivate diabetics to maintain a consist exercise regimen?

    Share your experience living with diabetes by making a Health Profile at!

    Share a little and learn a lot at Healthetreatment.

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