What the Treasury can learn from the Private Health Insurance Companies
Civitas, 4 October 2004
Today’s Times carries a report that a private health insurance company, PruHealth, intends to charge a lower premium to customers who maintain a healthy life-style by not smoking, regularly visiting the gym, etc.
Surely, the Treasury could and ought to consider offering comparable kinds of rebate in connection with NHS charges? At present the Government seeks to encourage healthier life-styles but without offering the taxpayer any real inducements to do so beyond making smokers and drinkers pay extra taxes for indulging their taste for tobacco and alcohol.
Surely there are many other ways people can improve their state of health besides choosing not to smoke or drink beyond moderation.
Especially as an aging population will have to continue in paid employment longer than earlier generations, those who make the effort to look after their health by sensible diet and exercise deserve some compensation beyond their simply enjoying the opportunity to work longer and contribute more to the Treasury.
The only real issue is whether such differential charging would be unduly intrusive into people’s privacy. Surely, however, there are ways to incentivise the adoption of healthier life-style that could not be so considered.