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Insurance discounts for healthy habits spur debate in Washington

Los Angeles Times, November 4, 2009

Some companies are charging lower insurance premiums to workers who meet benchmarks for healthy living, and the Senate's healthcare overhaul legislation would expand the trend. But some patient advocacy and health groups are worried that it could mean higher rates for less-fit Americans, possibly pricing them out of their employers' insurance plans. Critics of the Senate proposal also say that giving special treatment to those who meet a company's fitness standards could undercut one of the promises of the Democrats' proposed overhaul: preventing employers and insurers from discriminating against people on the basis of their health status and preexisting medical conditions.