Smokers Penalized With Health Insurance Premiums – NYTimes.com

I have posted a number of articles on making people more responsible for their health plan costs. This practice appears more widespread than I was aware, as this article indicates. Private employers (e.g., Wal-Mart) and their plans are increasingly using premium incentives (more co-pay for smokers and the obese) to help encourage wellness. And the new healthcare law provides employers greater latitude to adjust the co-pay amount (e.g., from 20 to 30 percent).

While I appreciate the public policy issues involved regarding the difficulty some people have with making lifestyle changes, it is hard to argue that financial incentives, correctly applied, and ideally with complementary support measures to assist lifestyle changes (as in the case of the Cleveland Clinic), are not part of a wellness approach.

Smokers Penalized With Health Insurance Premiums – NYTimes.com.

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