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August 01, 2006
More Americans Say Higher Premiums for Unhealthy Lifestyles Is Fair

Fifty-three percent of adults in the United States think it is fair to ask those with unhealthy lifestyles to pay higher insurance premiums than individuals with healthy lifestyles, up from 37 percent in 2003, according to a survey by the Wall Street Journal Online and Harris Interactive. Thirty-two percent of respondents said it was unfair, down from 46 percent in 2003.

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Fifty-three percent of respondents also said it was fair to ask people with unhealthy lifestyles to pay higher deductibles or co-payments for their medical care than individuals with healthy lifestyles, up from 26 percent in 2003. Thirty percent said it was unfair, down from 47 percent in 2003.

More than one-third of respondents (35 percent) agreed with the statement that "it is unfair to require the majority of people who are healthy to pay for most of the cost of treating those who are sick and are heavy users of hospitals and doctors."

However, the same portion of respondents disagreed with that statement. Democrats and Independents were more likely to disagree than Republicans were.

Harris Interactive conducted the online survey for Wall Street Journal Online between July 11 and July 13. The survey included 2,325 adults.

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