Join us at 1 p.m. ET Thursday for a live Q&A on frequently asked coronavirus questions. Learn more.
by Carole Carson, AARP, October 28, 2008
We all know that medical costs are rising. Many factors are causing this spike, but among the most identifiable may be the increase in obesity. Two-thirds of us are overweight or obese and, given the trend, this number is projected to reach 75 percent in the next few years.
As researchers have repeatedly documented, being overweight can lead to a host of medical problems: gallbladder disease, stroke, coronary disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and others. And these medical conditions lead to a host of medical expenses.
Who will foot the bill?
Certainly families are aware of the worrisome increase in costs when they write checks for their medical expenses. Their awareness is matched by the concern of their employers. The cost of employee health care premiums rises, as does the pressure to provide coverage to the uninsured—a double whammy.
So what's an employer to do? Some benefits administrators are employing the "stick" motivational technique by deducting money from the paychecks of employees who don’t meet certain health requirements or who smoke.
Other companies are giving "carrots." That is, the employer reduces the amount of the insurance deductible as an incentive to get and stay trim. Instead of paying the first $5,000 in medical expenses each year, for example, the employee who doesn't smoke and who stays trim may have the deductible reduced to $1,000.
What can you and I do? As employees or retirees—whatever our station in life—we must set an example.
Others will follow our lead if we step up and challenge ourselves to lose weight and get fit. To misquote President Roosevelt, we have nothing to lose but pounds themselves.
And what we have to gain is extremely valuable. We can regain the self-respect and financial viability that comes from living a disciplined life. Is that too much to ask of ourselves? And can we afford to do anything less?
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.
WW will help you build a customized weight loss plan
25% off the first healthy meal delivery of $99+.
Give or get help during the Coronavirus pandemic
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at