T Nation

Alabama Workers to Pay for Extra Pounds

“Next year, the state will add a $25 insurance fee for being overweight”

Full Article Here:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26337794/

For a couple years now, some major corporations have been docking the paychecks of overweight people (U-Haul comes to mind).

The Japanese government has a similar program: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/13/world/asia/13fat.html?_r=1&no_interstitial&oref=slogin

With 86% of Americans overweight/obese by 2030, SOMETHING has to be done: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Fitness/Story?id=5499878&page=1

$25 a month for health insurance? Christ, that’s still cheap. Not sure how much that will motivate Mr. and Mrs. Fatass.

I just hope they don’t use BMI to determine if the people there are overweight or not.

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[quote]AlteredState wrote:
Renton wrote:
I just hope they don’t use BMI to determine if the people there are overweight or not.

I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing.[/quote]

Well lucky for you guys the article answers your quandry.

FTA:

So, at least they’re not charging people in the ‘overweight’ category (BMI of 25 and over). For me, that means I’d have to get up to 273 lbs (I’m 6’2"). Still sucks if you’re that big and lean, but we all know that’s not the majority of the population.

[quote]AlteredState wrote:
Renton wrote:
I just hope they don’t use BMI to determine if the people there are overweight or not.

I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing.[/quote]

sadly, that appears to be how alabama is going to handle it,

“The board will apply the obesity charge to anyone with a body mass index of 35 or higher who is not making progress.”

who knows if they’ll actually take body composition into account. one would hope so.

[quote]iamthewolf wrote:
AlteredState wrote:
Renton wrote:
I just hope they don’t use BMI to determine if the people there are overweight or not.

I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing.

sadly, that appears to be how alabama is going to handle it,

“The board will apply the obesity charge to anyone with a body mass index of 35 or higher who is not making progress.”

who knows if they’ll actually take body composition into account. one would hope so.[/quote]

I’m glad I don’t live in Alabama, then. I think I’m “Morbidly Obese” by BMI standards, last I checked.

I wonder if there can be some sort of appeals/special circumstance process, where they review your actual physique/health?

[quote]m0dd3r wrote:
AlteredState wrote:
Renton wrote:
I just hope they don’t use BMI to determine if the people there are overweight or not.

I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing.

Well lucky for you guys the article answers your quandry.

FTA:

The board will apply the obesity charge to anyone with a body mass index of 35 or higher who is not making progress. A person 5 feet 6 inches tall weighing 220 pounds, for example, would have a BMI of 35.5. A BMI of 30 is considered the threshold for obesity.

So, at least they’re not charging people in the ‘overweight’ category (BMI of 25 and over). For me, that means I’d have to get up to 273 lbs (I’m 6’2"). Still sucks if you’re that big and lean, but we all know that’s not the majority of the population.[/quote]

Who cares about the majority of the population? Anyone here with more muscle than average would fall into that category as well.

Last I checked, my BMI was well past 25.

I like the idea of charging state employees extra fot a state insurance benefit package, paid for by the taxpayers of said state, if they choose to be overweight or smoke.

The methodology of determining if an individual is overweight may need tweaked. I am going to hope and assume that there is more to it than the article suggested. We must remember, BMI is a decent indicator of being overweight for the untrained, especially with women of children. As long as those that have a BMI over 35 are also tested for BF%, I don’t see any problem with it.

[quote]tedro wrote:
I like the idea of charging state employees extra fot a state insurance benefit package, paid for by the taxpayers of said state, if they choose to be overweight or smoke.

The methodology of determining if an individual is overweight may need tweaked. I am going to hope and assume that there is more to it than the article suggested. We must remember, BMI is a decent indicator of being overweight for the untrained, especially with women of children. As long as those that have a BMI over 35 are also tested for BF%, I don’t see any problem with it.[/quote]

They don’t test for most insurance companies. They simply have cut offs for body weight or BMI so why does anyone think they would test body fat here?

If you’re lean with a BMI over 35, my guess is you’d make a pretty convincing case just by showing up to argue the matter.

http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

BMI is a pretty horrible way to check “fatness” for most of us. That being said, to have a BMI over 35 and still be lean would make you quite the monster (maybe I’m just jealous that I’m no where close to that).

[quote]Professor X wrote:
tedro wrote:
I like the idea of charging state employees extra fot a state insurance benefit package, paid for by the taxpayers of said state, if they choose to be overweight or smoke.

The methodology of determining if an individual is overweight may need tweaked. I am going to hope and assume that there is more to it than the article suggested. We must remember, BMI is a decent indicator of being overweight for the untrained, especially with women of children. As long as those that have a BMI over 35 are also tested for BF%, I don’t see any problem with it.

They don’t test for most insurance companies. They simply have cut offs for body weight or BMI so why does anyone think they would test body fat here?
[/quote]

It’s my understanding, based on the article, that the insurance company doesn’t have anything to do with this. The state is paying the premium for all employees, but now giving the smokers and fatties a $25 surcharge. This is surely do to a spike in the state’s policy, and instead of passing it on in the form of lower wages or higher taxes, they are passing it on to those that tend to cause the most increases in health care.

This has never really been done before, and since it is not being instituted by the insurance company, it’s not fair to compare this policy to those of insurance companies.

Also, it will obviously require height and weight measurements of each employee, instead of just filling out a form like you would for most health care policies. Because of the extra personal contact, it is reasonable to assume that there will be some method used to exclude the few with BMI’s over 35 that are still relatively healthy, if there even is a single Alabama state employee that fits that description.

I have no problem with a state allocating costs to people who cause them. However, they should also allocate the savings. As such, where is the discount for lean healthy people?

[quote]VanderLaan wrote:
I have no problem with a state allocating costs to people who cause them. However, they should also allocate the savings. As such, where is the discount for lean healthy people? [/quote]

The difference between charging some more and giving others a discount is merely semantics. Even lean healthy people still likely want health insurance.

$25 is pretty irrelevant when good health insurance for a family is upwards of $1000/month.

[quote]m0dd3r wrote:
AlteredState wrote:
Renton wrote:
I just hope they don’t use BMI to determine if the people there are overweight or not.

I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing.

Well lucky for you guys the article answers your quandry.

FTA:

The board will apply the obesity charge to anyone with a body mass index of 35 or higher who is not making progress. A person 5 feet 6 inches tall weighing 220 pounds, for example, would have a BMI of 35.5. A BMI of 30 is considered the threshold for obesity.

So, at least they’re not charging people in the ‘overweight’ category (BMI of 25 and over). For me, that means I’d have to get up to 273 lbs (I’m 6’2"). Still sucks if you’re that big and lean, but we all know that’s not the majority of the population.[/quote]

Yeah not many lean people are over 35… but what’s next?

RI putting forth legislation that will have a cutoff at 30?? Then a much larger population of lean people would be fucked.

[quote]tedro wrote:
VanderLaan wrote:
I have no problem with a state allocating costs to people who cause them. However, they should also allocate the savings. As such, where is the discount for lean healthy people?

The difference between charging some more and giving others a discount is merely semantics. Even lean healthy people still likely want health insurance.[/quote]

It’s semantics sure, but it’s an incentive based idea as opposed to a punishment.

Language can be a powerful tool when shaping people’s views especially when it comes to running the risk of discrimination.

I don’t think it should be legislated though. The insurance companies themselves should give better health incentives.

Car insurance companies do it. My 18 year old sister who has been driving for 1.5 years is paying less than me (25 driving for almost 9.5 years) just because I’m male (with a perfect driving record). And that one I can’t control, I can control becoming fat.

[quote]AssOnGrass wrote:
m0dd3r wrote:
AlteredState wrote:
Renton wrote:
I just hope they don’t use BMI to determine if the people there are overweight or not.

I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing.

Well lucky for you guys the article answers your quandry.

FTA:

The board will apply the obesity charge to anyone with a body mass index of 35 or higher who is not making progress. A person 5 feet 6 inches tall weighing 220 pounds, for example, would have a BMI of 35.5. A BMI of 30 is considered the threshold for obesity.

So, at least they’re not charging people in the ‘overweight’ category (BMI of 25 and over). For me, that means I’d have to get up to 273 lbs (I’m 6’2"). Still sucks if you’re that big and lean, but we all know that’s not the majority of the population.

Yeah not many lean people are over 35… but what’s next?

RI putting forth legislation that will have a cutoff at 30?? Then a much larger population of lean people would be fucked.
[/quote]

Mine is 39.5. I think using BMI for much of anything is retarded even if most couch potatoes do fall in line with it.