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Poll: Americans want insurance penalties for bad habits

Posted On Tue, November 8, 2011

More than 30 percent of Americans think that consumers who practice poor health habits should be penalized by their health insurance company, according to a poll from Thomson Reuters and NPR.

Approximately 31 percent of consumers think that overweight people should pay higher health insurance rates than those who are in good shape. Nearly 60 percent of consumers noted that smokers should pay more for health insurance, as well, the report noted. Close to 85 percent felt that those who are healthy should get discounts for their healthcare plans.

"Discounts for good behaviors are always more popular than surcharges for bad behaviors, but the science of behavioral economics teaches us that loss avoidance is three times more powerful than receiving a gain," said Dr. Raymond Fabius, chief medical officer for the healthcare business of Thomson Reuters. "Our research shows that obesity is a much higher driver of healthcare costs than smoking."

Those consumers who feel they are paying too much for coverage may want to compare health insurance quotes, as a more affordable plan may be available.

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