Most U.S. Residents Believe Smokers Should Pay More for Health Insurance, Poll Finds
Most U.S. residents believe smokers and individuals who do not wear seatbelts should pay different levels of health insurance premiums, deductibles or copayments, according to a Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive poll released this week, the Wall Street Journal reports. The online poll, conducted between Dec. 12 and 14, includes responses from 2,007 U.S. adults.
According to the poll, 63% of respondents believe smokers should pay different health insurance costs than nonsmokers, compared with 58% in 2003. In addition, the poll finds that 62% respondents believe individuals who do not use seatbelts should pay different health insurance costs than those who do use seatbelts, compared with 53% in 2003. The poll also finds that 57% of respondents believe heavy drinkers should pay different health insurance costs than those who drink alcohol in moderation or not at all.
However, only one-third of respondents believe overweight individuals should pay different health insurance costs than those who are not overweight, and only 26% believe individuals who do not exercise should pay different health insurance costs than those who do exercise, according to the poll. Overall, the poll finds that men are more likely to support different health insurance costs than women.
According to the poll, support for the use of positive incentives to encourage healthier behavior as part of health insurance is much higher than support for different costs. Seventy-one percent of respondents support coverage of smoking-cessation programs, and 70% support coverage of counseling for alcohol, gambling and drug addiction, the poll finds (Wall Street Journal, 12/21).