General Question

jca's avatar

Do you think insurance companies would ever get to the point where obese people are required to have weight loss surgery or be dropped from their health insurance policies?

Asked by jca (36043points) December 7th, 2010

I know the FDA has just recently reduced the minimum weight required to have weight loss surgery. People that I know that have had multiple health problems (diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. or joint problems like knee and hip replacements) have had these problems either disappear or be greatly minimized after weight loss surgery. This is beneficial for insurance companies, as patients with less health problems would be less of a liability.

Do you think that the increased proven successes of weight loss surgery would make insurance companies force people to have the operation or else be threatened with losing their health insurance?

Excluded from this would obviously be people who would be at a greater risk from the surgery, i.e. people who would not survive the surgery for whatever reason.

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10 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

No, I don’t think surgery will be required. I predict the rates obese people pay for insurance will be significantly higher first.
I can foresee a time when a notice will be give that at your annual physical your BMI must either be below a certain number, or you must show an x% reduction since the previous year.

marinelife's avatar

No, i don not think insurers will or could require this.

Otherwise healthy people either do not survive weight loss surgery or have serious complications from it.

ragingloli's avatar

Not if the Insurance would have to pay for the surgery.

Coloma's avatar

Insurance companies are already invested in the tobacco and fast food industry, they don’t want you sick, they want you dead. lol

iamthemob's avatar

Nope. Watch the riots begin…

…imagine the headlines, really, if they started to require that.

downtide's avatar

I don’t think surgery will be compulsory as such, but I can foresee a future where there’s a weight limit on insurance, and if you exceed a certain weight, you won’t be able to get any. The choice of how to lose weight, or just not have insurance at all, would then be up to the individual.

wundayatta's avatar

Like @worriedguy said, they’ll raise rates for the obese if they can. But that will never happen because the trend is going the other way—putting us all in the same risk pool. The better choice, anyway, will be to provide incentives for healthy behaviors, and perhaps to offer the surgery with no copay or coinsurance.

Of course, this will only work when everyone is in the same risk pool. That is the only time insurers have an incentive to make people healthier. Right now, the trick is to get rid of the sick people and let someone else insure them. That way, you don’t have to pay for their care. They have any number of ways they do this without breaking the law.

Ponderer983's avatar

No way. Despite how discriminatory that is, that would lead into ALL people who do ANYTHING bad for their health. People who smoke, people who drink too much, people who have careers where injury is great. Anything you can choose that will raise your medical bills.

Jeruba's avatar

Insurance companies are going to do what they’ve always done: figure out how to make more money than they spend. Over my lifetime the rules have changed drastically in ways we never thought they would. They’ll keep changing. What might seem outrageous now will be accepted with a grumble and a sigh when it’s the only way we can get coverage.

Kraigmo's avatar

The greatest pool of liquidity is the entire nation. All should be insured, and one day, all will be insured. It may happen after great chaos, or it may happen in time to prevent great chaos.

People like to have scapegoats, and fat people and cigarette smokers are easy targets. Let those without sin cast the first stone. Like I said, all should be insured, regardless of health, regardless of addictions, and regardless of ability to pay. By paying for everyone’s wellbeing through the front door, we save billions of dollars from being lost out the back door.

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