07 November 2007

Lose it or pay

I was watching The Early Show on CBS this morning and they did a story on health insurance that I found fascinating.

It seems the cost for health insurance in Bentonville, Ar. county government was out of control. They were operating with a $50,000 deficit. They needed to do something to try and get these skyrocketing costs under control. They changed their deductible policy. In 2004 there was a $750 deductible. In 2005 they raised it to $2,750. A rather dramatic increase. But, they had a way for you to lower your deductible to $500 if you just did a few simple things. Got healthy. If you could pass a medical test that showed your cholesterol was below 160, glucose was below 126, blood pressure was below 140/90, and you didn't smoke, your deductible would drop to $500. This program not only worked, but after 17 months they had a $1,000,000 surplus in the fund.

They interviewed employees and they said when it first went into effect they were mad. They felt like their rights were being violated and they were being told how to live. The interviewer even said, you're, "forcing a lifestyle on your workers." I thought to myself, no they aren't. They are offering their workers a choice. If you continue living the way you are you will pay more. If you are willing to make some small changes, eat less-move more, you will pay less. This is, in my mind, very similar to a good driver discount on your car insurance. If you go for so long without an accident or a ticket you get a discount on your rate or deductible or whatever. I think that makes perfect sense, if you are willing to work harder you get greater benefit. Hmmm, sounds a lot like what this country was built on.

What really struck me about this story, and shows like the Biggest Loser, is that these people did it. I don't know how long they had been obese, I don't know if they ever tried to lose weight before. But they were faced with a choice, they made the choice and got to work. Nobody tried to sue, although I doubt they would have had a case as the county wasn't denying them health insurance, they did whine and moan, but they did it. All the employees they talked to have lost weight.

It really just makes the point I've made before, if you want to lose weight you will. People who say they can't lose weight are full of crap, they just chose not to try. Trust me, I know better than anyone that it is not easy, it's not fun, but it is so worth it. Just put down the donut and get off your butt, works every time.

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