No doubt about it – there is a stigma associated with carrying extra weight. In the United States, 61 percent of the population is overweight and 35.7 percent of adults fall into the category of “obese.” Most people are aware that obesity poses a problem for physical health, but what about financial health? When it comes to health insurance coverage, being overweight will cost you more money.
The big decider that could affect your premiums is your Body Mass Index (BMI). Here’s the formula to determine your BMI: (Weight in Pounds / Height in inches x Height in inches) x 703. In case you have no desire whatsoever to do a mathematical equation, you can utilize one of the many BMI calculators that are available online.
In the U.S., you qualify as overweight if your BMI is over 25. If your BMI is over 30, then you are officially obese. While having a high BMI is no guarantee that you are going to develop a serious health issue, it does put you at higher risk. When health insurance companies see risk, they respond with rate hikes. A high BMI is taken into consideration much like a pre-existing condition or a smoking habit.
Not only can being overweight increase your health insurance premiums by hundreds of dollars, but it can keep you from getting coverage altogether. Until the Affordable Care Act kicks in entirely in 2014, people with high BMIs can be flat out denied by insurers.
Higher health care costs are just one more thing to add to the list of reasons to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Overweight people are more likely to have diabetes, heart disease, breathing problems, and many other ailments.