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Health insurance discounts for normal BMI

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  • #31
    I barely eek out normal BMI. I can bench more than half my body weight. Too bad that's not part of the risk factor measurements as strength is probably a better measure of health and mortality than size.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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    • #32
      Most of the time people whining about BMI are fat people...
      BMI is a poor measure of absolute overall health, but as a basic metric (to be used in conjunction with other measurements, or common sense) it is fine. Its also extremely simple to calculate, unlike say body fat percentage. Obviously body fat percentage is far more valuable, but it can be time consuming and costly to accurately measure.
      Fatness correlates well with ill health and BMI is (most of the time), going to provide, a reasonable level of your fatness because most people don't have the muscle mass to make BMI inaccurate.

      Obviously health premiums solely linked to BMI are stupid, since you can easily have a overweight/underweight BMI and be far healthier than a normal BMI person.
      http://lifemutt.blogspot.sg/ - Gaming, Food Reviews and Life in Singapore

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      • #33
        Originally posted by AMonkey View Post
        Most of the time people whining about BMI are fat people...
        Most of the time, yes. But then there are people like me who are annoyed they have to derail their strength training program just to meet some arbitrary number.

        Originally posted by AMonkey View Post
        BMI is a poor measure of absolute overall health, but as a basic metric (to be used in conjunction with other measurements, or common sense) it is fine.
        Everything is fine when used in conjunction with other measurements or common sense, but I think it's a bad idea to use BMI at all. It may be correlated with body fat percentage, but it does not measure it. It flags too many normal people as fat, and too many fat people as normal. It penalizes men, tall people, and people with big frames, and it penalizes muscle more than an equal volume of fat.

        Originally posted by AMonkey View Post
        Its also extremely simple to calculate, unlike say body fat percentage. Obviously body fat percentage is far more valuable, but it can be time consuming and costly to accurately measure.
        The only reason anyone uses it is because it's extremely simple to calculate. But weight alone is even simpler to calculate - why not just use that? Unfortunately, body fat percentage is indeed much harder to calculate.

        Originally posted by AMonkey View Post
        Fatness correlates well with ill health and BMI is (most of the time), going to provide, a reasonable level of your fatness because most people don't have the muscle mass to make BMI inaccurate.
        Most of the time isn't good enough. I work with a guy who's 5'7" and weighed 110 lbs in college. Since then, he's gained 55 lbs of fat. He also eats at McDonald's (though he proudly says "not every day!"), is mostly sedentary (though he thinks his occasional walking makes him "moderately active"), and his constant coughing sounds like he's on the verge of death (and he brags that he's invincible because of his family history). But his BMI is just a bit above the normal range, thanks to his complete absence of muscle, so he's close to being "healthy" and getting an insurance discount.

        Originally posted by AMonkey View Post
        Obviously health premiums solely linked to BMI are stupid, since you can easily have a overweight/underweight BMI and be far healthier than a normal BMI person.
        OK, now we agree. But I have no idea what the solution is. My company is looking into recent legislation regarding corporate wellness programs for ideas. They might make an exception to the smoking penalty if you're in a smoking cessation program, and I hope they make an exception to the BMI penalty too.
        "Don't go in there, General, it's a trap! That's a grain chamber. It makes people like you into people like me."

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        • #34
          My husband's company did this. In our case, they accepted a doctor's note asserting his body fat percentage and muscle mass making his BMI "off" but his health higher than normal BMIs. there are many work-arounds. Just show your abs, all is fine.

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          • #35
            Hip to waist ratio is a much better indicator than BMI.
            Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
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            • #36
              I told the president of the company that I thought the wellness program was a great idea in theory, but that all reputable health experts question the usefulness of BMI as a metric.

              He said it's one of the standard measures. I pointed out that one of my coworkers has the same BMI as me but he's clearly obese, while I'm clearly not, and asked if I could be measured by something like body fat percentage or [I was going to say waist to hip ratio but he cut me off].

              He said "Oh yeah, they're going to measure all that stuff," and that I'd be happy with the way they do everything. Though he only specified two other things they'll measure: what percent of you is water, and what percent is fat.

              Does anyone know what body fat percentage is considered normal, the way that a BMI of 18.5 - 25 is considered normal?
              "Don't go in there, General, it's a trap! That's a grain chamber. It makes people like you into people like me."

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              • #37
                I don't know which chart they use, but her eis one from the World Health organization. It is age-dependent:

                Body Fat Percentage Charts for Men and Women
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                • #38
                  They took our baseline measurements today. My BMI was in the overweight range (25.4, normal is 18.5 - 24.9), but my body fat percentage was in the normal range (18.9%, normal is 8% - 20%). But now it seems like they're not willing to go by body fat percentage instead of BMI, contrary to what they implied before. Guess I'm going on a diet.
                  "Don't go in there, General, it's a trap! That's a grain chamber. It makes people like you into people like me."

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                    I barely eek out normal BMI. I can bench more than half my body weight. Too bad that's not part of the risk factor measurements as strength is probably a better measure of health and mortality than size.
                    I can bench press ~1.5x my bodyweight and I'm definitely BMI overweight. Oh, and I eat a lot of fatty, artery-clogging food.

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                    • #40
                      When it comes to linking obesity to insurance premiums, the net result will not be morbidly obese people paying lots more as premiums, deductibles, and copays to make up for their increased health risk. Nor will they suddenly get motivated, go on a strict weight-loss diet, and stay on it until they become thin according to the charts, and then stay on that diet for the rest of their lives to stay thin, which they have for the most part tried many times and failed at.

                      Oh, a few may pay more. A few may lose some weight.

                      The real result will be that a large number of the sickest people in this country will lose access to health care, because no matter how much someone not in that group thinks the morbidly obese should be willing and able to pay, morbidly obese people don't have any more disposable income than those who are thin, attractive, and healthy. Being permanently marginalized by the health care system will not improve their chances of becoming healthy, either. And it will end up costing everybody more if they have to end up at the ER when they get sick.

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                      • #41
                        It's a scam. My great grandparents were a stocky lot. I'm sure their BMIs were higher than is considered healthy. All lived to be into their mid 80s and one to 97. Grandparents were mixed - one obese, one had a good amount of ass, two were relatively thin. Again, all to their mid 80s. It's just one more way to make people pay for something that is an unproven metric.

                        Fat tax. Sugar tax. Sin tax. Soda tax. It's all the same pile of doggy doo.
                        "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

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                        Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                        • #42
                          I thought with Obamacare, insurers lose the right to pay based on health factors except smoking?

                          If I was an employer, I'd do my best to encourage my employees not to be obese. This whole website spends a lot of time pointing out how stupid people are with their health. How many workplaces do you see unhealthy practices being a part of "fitting in" versus healthy practices?

                          I do think that a number like BMI is a bad indicator, and maybe that definition needs to expand to include overweight/very low end of obese as "healthy". I mean, the average person in this country is to some degree overweight. But it is very hard to look at the guys my husband works with and call them "healthy fat". A couple of them are obese to morbidly obese and as a group, they drink, eat bar food, eat high calorie lunches, devour sweets etc. They even admit and are aware they are unhealthy. And they cost their insurer money from the extra meds they take.

                          Here we all are - being careful in our diets to preserve our health. Eating right keeps so many off of medications and out of the doctor's office. We SHOULD be able to save money on insurance! And people who are blatantly damaging their health should pay more. I know there is always a few people who are healthy, but struggle to get to the "right weight". Lots of people fall in that overweight category and really should not be punished. But minimally, the morbidly obese in most cases are responsible for getting that way and should pay an additional price like smokers. I've spent a lot of time morbidly obese and knew exactly what I was doing and why I was that way, and it wasn't genes, CW or anything. It was eating way too much crappy food. And it took a toll on my health- I spent a lot of time at the doctor!

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by magnolia1973 View Post
                            I thought with Obamacare, insurers lose the right to pay based on health factors except smoking?
                            It's my employer rather than the insurance company who's using this information. They pay a portion of our insurance costs based on our fitness level:

                            Level A - smoker - company pays 50%
                            Level B - non-smoker - company pays 65%
                            Level C - non-smoker and target BMI achieved - company pays 80%

                            We had to pee on a stick for the smoking test. I don't know if they pass the results on to the insurer.

                            For BMI, I guess they figure that there will be fewer claims if more people reach their target. They said our premiums are going up a lot because there were a lot of claims last year, and we think that's because of the two guys who got diabetes last year (one type 1, one type 2).
                            "Don't go in there, General, it's a trap! That's a grain chamber. It makes people like you into people like me."

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                            • #44
                              I think peeing on a stick is just one more way that the American worker suffers an indignity that they didn't 20-30 years ago. If enough talented people said, "F*** you, I'm not going to pee on your f***ing stick," they'd have to stop. Sheeple make the world a terrible place. I would drive a cab or wait on tables before I'd pee on anything for an employer. Period.
                              "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                              B*tch-lite

                              Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by PrimalHunter View Post
                                It's my employer rather than the insurance company who's using this information. They pay a portion of our insurance costs based on our fitness level:

                                Level A - smoker - company pays 50%
                                Level B - non-smoker - company pays 65%
                                Level C - non-smoker and target BMI achieved - company pays 80%

                                We had to pee on a stick for the smoking test. I don't know if they pass the results on to the insurer.

                                For BMI, I guess they figure that there will be fewer claims if more people reach their target. They said our premiums are going up a lot because there were a lot of claims last year, and we think that's because of the two guys who got diabetes last year (one type 1, one type 2).
                                How did they measure your body fat percentage, and get it to the tenths-place in decimal?
                                Is it something I can do at home? Perhaps they used a special sensing scale?

                                I am curious as to whether this calculator gives you similar results for body fat.

                                http://www.calculator.net/army-body-fat-calculator.html
                                Last edited by PBNewby; 11-05-2013, 07:33 PM.
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