Obesity Will Increase the Cost of Health Insurance Premiums

obese Health experts say that if the current trends continue, then about half of all American men and women will be obese by the year 2030. This is going to increase the cost of health insurance for everyone, not just for the people who become obese.

A research team that was led by Claire Wang at the Mailman School of Public Health recently did a study about obesity in the United States. They found that 32% of all American men, and 35% of all American women are currently obese.

It has been said that there is an obesity epidemic in the United States, as well as several other nations. Obesity is a preventable cause of many chronic, non-communicable, diseases.

If current trends continue, then the United States can expect to see an extra 7.8 million cases of diabetes, an extra 6.8 million cases of heart disease and stroke, and around 539,000 cases of cancer in Americans by the year 2030. Obesity also raises the risk of a person developing hypertension, high cholesterol, and other health conditions.

These diseases will result in extra health care costs. People who require expensive medical treatments, or continual medical treatments, cost their health insurance company more money than do people who are healthy. People who are healthy might only need to see a doctor for annual checkups. They might not require any prescription medications.

People who are experiencing serious health issues that are brought on by obesity are going to require many visits to doctors, prescription medications, and potentially even visits to the hospital. In other words, people who are obese and unhealthy will be seen by insurance companies as much more expensive to cover than healthy people are.

Experts predict that the cost of obesity will be very expensive. The United States is likely to end up having to spend an extra 2.6% on its overall healthcare bill. This comes to about $66 billion per year.

We all know what happens when insurance companies face unexpected costs. They raise the rates of their health insurance premiums, in order to cover their loss. Keep in mind that you do not actually have to be among the growing number of people who are obese in order to get stuck with a higher health insurance premium. The insurance companies are probably going to increase their rates for all of their customers.

Obesity is not a problem that is only happening in the United States. Around the world, there are 1.5 billion adults who are overweight, and around 0.5 billion who are obese. There are 170 million children who are either overweight or obese. Worldwide, obesity, and the health problems related to it, take up between 2% and 6% of health care costs in most countries.

Image by Ingo Bernhardt on Flickr

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