Insurance companies invest in tobacco

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No, really: What? This is as interesting as it is disturbing.

How many of you smokers out there pay higher insurance rates for life, health, disability, long-term care, etc., because you smoke?

Right. All of you do.

But, it's not enough for insurance companies to yank our chain via our rates; they also want to dictate what will happen in Washington while our representatives decide the fate of our health care system.

Somethin's fishy.

Canadian and U.S. health insurance companies – including Toronto's Sun Life Financial Inc. – have more than $3 billion (U.S.) invested in the tobacco industry, a letter published today in the New England Journal of Medicine charges.

By refusing to quit their addiction to cigarette profits, the insurers lose any moral right to help set health policy, the letter's Harvard University authors argue.

"Disgusting, depressing, I've heard a lot of words to describe the fact the insurance industry is invested in tobacco," says Dr. Wesley Boyd, the letter's lead author.

"By exposing their investments in tobacco, it pulls the rug out from under them in terms of saying they should be credible players (in health policy discussions)."

Read more at Canada's TheStar.com.

Disclosure: The author is a former life and health insurance agent, albiet in another state, who has sold, or participated in the sales of life, health, dental, long-term care, annuity and disability insurance products to consumers and company benefit programs.

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