Obese in Alabama? You'll Pay

. Tuesday, August 26

In January, 2009, Alabama state employees will be screened for BMI, cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels in an effort to control health insurance claim costs. If an employee is determined to be fat, he will have a year to lose weight or pay an additional $25 a month for health insurance. Alabama currently ranks as the second most obese state in the US. Opponents of the penalty say that many people are unsympathetic to overweight people and use it as an excuse to exclude them from the health insurance pool. Imposing the "fat tax" will cause greater financial stress and lead to buying cheaper, calorie-dense foods that will only exacerbate the problem. In a state that deep-fries everything, healthy food choices may not be all that easy to find. While incentives to lose weight are welcomed, penalizing people for being overweight is not widely accepted.