Insurance industry again targets obesity as culprit in rising costs
Obesity in the U.S. is beginning to creep into the limelight once again as insurers begin to draw more attention to the costs associated with being overweight. The insurance industry has long decried obesity because of its impact on the medical world. Those that are excessively overweight are more likely to require costly medical care. The U.S. is currently aced with a rapidly increasing obesity rate, which is beginning to put strain on the country’s health care system and causing hospitals to begin charging more for care in an attempt to remain financially solvent.
Obesity estimated to cost $190 billion in excess medical costs annually
The economic implications of widespread obesity are varied and are often considered sensitive. According to a report from the Lehigh University released earlier this year, medical spending associated with obesity is estimated to be at $190 billion each year. Insurers suggest that these costs have had a direct impact on the medical community, spurring an increase in the costs of care. As a result, insurance companies have been forced to raise rates on health insurance coverage in an attempt to account for more expensive medical care. In many cases, the burden of higher premiums tends to fall on policyholders that are not obese.
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Organizations and agencies begin testing new equipment
The insurance industry believes that obesity has reached a point where new action must be taken in order to rein in on costs and prevent insurance coverage from becoming more expensive. Widespread obesity has led the U.S Transit Administration to begin testing new public transportation vehicles that are designed to accommodate the needs of heavier passengers. These vehicles employ more advanced breaking and steering systems meant to handle the more weight. The University of Alabama’s hospital, which is the fourth largest hospital in the country, has also begun installing new toilets that are capable of handling over 250 pounds.
Insurers suggest new incentives to help people adopt healthy lifestyles
These initiatives require insurance coverage in order to become realities. Insurers have begun underwriting new policies to cover the risks that are associated with testing and utilizing new equipment for vehicles and lavatories. These policies come at a price, which often trickles down to healthy policyholders. Insurers continue to express the need for new political policies to be instituted as a way to encourage the obese to lose weight and adopt healthier lifestyles.