As our state struggles with how to fix the State Health Plan's potential $1+ billion funding shortfall, our neighbors in South Carolina are looking at a measure that would charge obese state employees more for their health coverage.
The bill says that any person with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30 would be charged $25 per month extra for their health coverage. Although the bill sponsor now says he is going to rework the bill to reward healthy employees rather than punish overweight workers. Still an idea that has merit.
This follows another bill South Carolina passed last year that charges state employees who smoke more for their health insurance.
Certainly interesting ideas to consider as our state grapples with how to fix the State Health Plan. With state employees not paying any premiums for their health coverage, there is no financial incentive for them to live healthy lifestyles. They can be overweight, smoke or do whatever and the taxpayers are going to pick up the tab for their health care.
Shouldn't North Carolina lawmakers look at some similar proposals here to try and not only save money, but maybe save a few lives while their at it?
Instead of just pouring more money into a broken system in the State Health Plan lawmakers should take this opportunity to fundamentally change the program and give state employees a greater financial interest in their health — whether that is through Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or cash incentives for certain healthy benchmarks. What we do know however, is continuing a system where the person being covered has no financial interest in the solvency of the system is doomed for failure.