I often speak of health issues when talking about life insurance. The topic of health is relevant to the subject of insurance, as your health has a direct effect on your risk of mortality and, therefore, on your life insurance premiums.
Two of the biggest factors in determining health class are tobacco use and build (height/weight ratio). Smokers pay significantly more for their life insurance because it is proven that smoking directly (and indirectly) impacts your mortality. Overweight people have a higher risk of heart disease, some types of cancer and diabetes, which all impact your mortality.
It’s easy to tell people to quit smoking and/or lose weight, but having once been a heavy cigarette smoker, I know how effective that is. And, talking about another person’s weight is never an easy subject to broach.
Since we, as individuals, can’t seem to handle these problems ourselves, the government (both Federal and Local) are stepping in to save the day. The City of San Francisco (as well as the County of Santa Clara, CA) is helping to ensure the future health of your children (and, consequently ensuring better insurance health classes for them). The S.F. Board of Supervisors have voted (8-3) to prohibit restaurants from giving away toys with meals that don’t meet certain nutritional standards for calories, sodium and fat. This idea is spreading to other local governments, so get ready to bid a fond adieu to, I’m happy to say, the Happy Meal.
The federal government, under the guise of the FDA, has decided that tobacco use has become an epidemic, especially with school-age children. As we apparently can’t stop ourselves (or our children), the FDA has devised a plan to scare us out of the habit. By placing pictures of diseased lungs and smokers with holes in their throats, and other graphic images of smokers with diseased body parts, the Feds are going to scare us straight (or nicotine-free). Then, they’ll probably approve a drug for all the freaked-out nicotine-craving addicts, but that’s a subject for another post.
In no way do I mean to offend folks who have difficulty losing weight or stopping smoking. My intention here is only to poke fun at the feeble attempts of our elected officials to try to cure our habits and addictions. The bottom line is, stopping tobacco use and losing weight can only improve your health and, consequently, your life insurance premiums (and those of you children). However, nobody ever said it would be easy.