Vegetarian + Vegan money

Published on November 14th, 2008 | by Melissa Elliott

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PETA Suggests Higher Insurance Rates For Meat Eaters

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Due to studies suggesting vegetarians have stronger immune systems and are 40% less likely to get cancer, as well as recent outbreaks of E.coli traced to a Vermont slaughterhouse, PETA is urging Blue Cross of Vermont to lower insurance rates for vegetarians, while increasing those for meat eaters.

To make the point, PETA’s Executive Director Tracy Reiman sent a letter to Bill Milnes Jr., president of Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Vermont.

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“Given the latest news about the effects of E.coli on meat-eaters — and the mountain of evidence linking meat consumption to some of our nation’s deadliest diseases — this change will benefit Blue Cross Blue Shield’s bottom line while also helping to ensure that your policyholders don’t flat line,” Reiman wrote.

“By giving your policyholders a financial incentive to go vegetarian – and penalizing those whose meat-based diets fuel our nation’s worst health problems – Blue Cross Blue Shield can save millions of dollars in the long run as your members begin to require fewer cholesterol-lowering medications, chemotherapy treatments, and diabetes drugs,” the letter concluded.

But according to Kevin Goddard, vice president of external affairs for Blue Cross, it doesn’t appear they’ll be taking PETA’s suggestion any time soon.

“Under Vermont law, we would not be allowed to vary rates based on the dietary and nutritional habits of various members.” he said.

Along with a “guaranteed issue” law that requires insurers to offer coverage for all persons in the state, the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration web site also lists a “community rating,” which stops the companies from making a person pay more for their coverage because of age, location or health condition.

Photo Credit: jenn_jenn on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

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About the Author

Melissa Elliott is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. Her personal blog, TheUrbanHousewife.com, documents her culinary adventures from her kitchen to vegan food around the world. When she's not glued to her computer or on the road, she loves to spend time with her husband, Ryan, cats Beamish & Scurvy, and beloved chihuahua, Strummer.



  • http://www.goveg.com Lianne

    Thanks for the mention! Learn more about why going veg is the best thing for you, the animals, and the environment at http://www.GoVeg.com.

  • Kristina

    what about the E.Coli infected spinach fiasco?

  • James

    Wow, every day PETA seems to be more like a cult.
    First telling Ben and Jerry’s to make their ice cream with women’s breast milk, now this? What the fuck is wrong with them?

  • Paul

    Gee, that kind of sounds like some very unAmerican discrimination. Should I take this to mean that PETA encourages discrimination of fellow American citizens based on their lifestyles or preferences? I’ve always been very suspicious of PETA. I’m sorry, but you’ve got to be glad that the legislature isn’t going along with that pile of bull-droppings.

  • Gary

    Spinach anyone?

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  • http://www.sproif.com James

    First suggesting that Ben & Jerry’s use women’s breast milk, now this? PETA needs to realize they’re just a self-serving organization and they do no good for anyone. Do they even stop to think that not all people who are fortunate enough to have health insurance can afford to be hippy-vegetable-eating-prius-driving snobs like those PETA-holes. If you want to be a vegetarian, fine… but I’ll do my best to cancel out your non-meat-eating-ness.

  • Mark

    This is ludacris. PETA is just putting out some sensational press relaease to get headlines. How about we create a registry and increase the health insurance rates for anyone who has a family to feed on a budget and eats Hamburger Helper? Or buys a turkey for Thanksgiving? Or a beef roast for Christmas?
    I wonder how much disposible income these PETA vegitarians in Vermont have…maybe they can buy my groceries! And they can carry the grocery bags home in their Volvo station wagons while we listen to music from their iPhones. gimme a break, get in touch with the rest of your country!!!!!!!!1

  • Fran

    This is silly. If PETA didn’t have an agenda, why aren’t they asking for LOWER rates for vegetarians instead of higher rates for meat eaters?

  • Really?

    Well, that settles it. I told my self the next time PETA does something idiotic that i would buy a huge steak. Looks like im having some meat with a side of meat tonight. Thanks PETA! Studies have been done and those who do not eat any meat, well, they’re brain shrinks… what deos that say to you?

  • EGG BONE

    HOW REDICULOUS!
    what about the e coli that has been found on green onions….lettuce….tomatoes?
    Maybe the vegans should cook all their vegetables to a golden brown to kill the bacteria

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  • http://expatriateskitchen.blogspot.com Beth Bader

    Wow. Lots of emotion. If your comment does not show up, it was probably edging on abusive or used some fairly colorful adjectives some would construe as offensive. Careful how you word things, so your comments can appear and be part of the discussion! Thanks.

  • Dank Jemo

    Stop ruining delicious taste of meat for the people that like it.

    That is fine if you don’t eat it, but don’t force your way of life on me. I don’t try to cram a steak in your mouth, so don’t try to cram your shit into mine.

    Respect my beliefs and i will respect yours. If you don’t we have a problem… Which I am more than willing to solve for you.

  • ha

    Gluttony makes people unhealthy, not meat!

    Eating ONLY vegetables makes people unhealthy.
    Eating ONLY meat makes people unhealthy.

    Not eating meat(same for vegetables) goes against natures plans for you. Is PETA telling us to mess with Mother Nature’s Plan?

  • Nard

    E. Coli comes from intestinal bacteria. Spinach doesn’t have intestines. It was contaminated from factory farm animal feces.

  • Common Sense

    C’mon people, are we gonna start charging amputees less because they have less body to examine? Or start cutting rates for any woman who has a hystorectomy, since she won’t need pap smears any longer? Give me a break, I like veggies too, but I live in reality (unlike the people behind this movement.) If this passes in any state, there will be no end in sight to this malarky.

  • Cmon

    Doesn’t that ignore one basic fact that anyone can claim they are vegetarian? There is no possible way for an insurance company to go through my diet and verify whether I am or not, so that’s just a bad proposal from the get-go.

  • Rach

    E. Coli comes from the intestines of animals. It contaminates food when the feces of animals touches the food. That’s why there is significant risk eating rare meat because about 1% of meat is feces (due to the slaughter process). Vegetables become contaminated when they are exposed to manure or animal carcasses.

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does NOT prohibit discrimination based on lifestyle; the protected classes include race, color, national origin, sex, age, and religion (some state statutes prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.)

    Maybe part of the reason veg*ans are so much healthier and wealthier is because we educate ourselves and choose a lifestyle that is consistent with the reality of food production, consumption, physiology, and the law. It never ceases to amaze me at how angrily non-veg*ans react to any lifestyle that challenges their self-riteous beliefs. In my experience, veg*ans also have the best attitudes: LIVE AND LET LIVE which is why we don’t eat other living beings.

  • ikey

    I think vegetarianism is a healthy way to eat if you do it correctly and eat a variety of foods, but most people that I know who are vegan or vegatarians do eat nor look very healthy.

    I think their lack of protein makes them more succeptible to brainwashing and joining morality elitist cults.

    You have to wonder if the whole veg movement is a religious cult.

  • Glenn

    How could Blue Cross know for sure whether or not your a vegetarian?

  • Malc

    You know this article has made me want to change the way I live…..

    ….and start wearing fur

  • Meat Is Murder

    …tasty, tasty, murder.

  • http://www.poly-phasers.com Brad

    It has always been my understanding that exposure to bacteria INCREASES your immune system. So their logic behind this is very flawed. Not to mention the fact that vegetables are also major carriers of bacteria.

    And the most important fact of all is this: how will they be able to regulate this? I could easily claim to be a vegetarian to save cash yet eat meat all day long. If something like this was put in place you’d find many people claiming to be vegetarians who are not, and I’d be on that list myself ;)

  • Web Warlock

    PETA please take note that there is in fact mounting evidence that it’s not the meat that causes health problems at all; it’s the carbs high on the glucose index, eg. white potatoes, pasta, bread, rice etc.

    The studies that PETA refers to compare a diet high in meat and carbs to a vegetarian diet. There is very little data comparing a diet high in meat and vegetables, and low in carbs, and the data that exists is very favorable. You see, when you cut out the carbs, your body is forced to burn the fat and cholesterol in the meat instead of burning the carbs. Your cholesterol levels go down, and you lose weight, and you’re less likely to get heart disease or diabetes. In short, eat less potatoes, bread, pasta (made primarily from vegetables), increase your vegetable intake, and keep eating your meat.

    Furthermore from an environmental perspective, aquaponics grows vegetables with less damage to the environment than conventional agriculture, where vegetables are grown alone. There are ways to grow vegetables combined with animals, and do less damage to the environment than if you only grow vegetables. The reason is that you’re required to use oil based fertilizer, if you don’t use animal fertilizer.

    http://www.drjaywortman.com/blog/wordpress/my-big-fat-diet-faqs/

  • NomNomSTEAK!

    PETA really is crazy.

  • Slacker

    I did the vegetarian thing for about 2 years. I took all the supplements and followed all the advice of my nutritionist. And I was sick almost non-stop.

    I had several colds that just would not go away, during the winter of the 2nd year I couldn’t tell where one cold ended and another began. In the end I was forced to give it up just so I could be healthy again.

    The moral of the story is that some people are better suited to such a diet and some are not.

  • Brenda

    Stunts like this are why PETA is despised and mocked by so many mainstream Americans. There are so many better ways to get their message across.

  • justin

    i say this as a vegan. Fuck PETA. they would rather discriminate a human being to protect so animals. how many animals survive as a species on the single reason that humans eat them?

  • http://www.ntopics.com ntopics

    Staying healthy requires a balance
    of food from all the food groups,
    and regular exercise.

    thanks from tony

  • http://www.biz-development.com Laurus Nobilis

    The question is are these studies biased? If their initial goal was to prove that vegans have stronger immune system, they will see what they want to see. I believe that immune system depends of many facts, but not just on fact are you vegan or not.

  • Figures

    You know, it never ceases to amaze me. While I believe in the humane treatment of animals, they would rather watch people starve and go without health care than allow someone to eat some ground beef. Few people can afford their “Organic Veggie” lifestyle, and most of us are on a strict budget with picky children that look at veggies like they are from another planet. A meatloaf can feed my family for a few days and keep us from breaking budget.

    I’ll have to agree with Penn and Teller with this one.

    “Unless you and yours are starving, shut the *expletive* up!”

  • Figures

    Oh, and isn’t that a little thing called Descrimination?

  • Matt

    Perhaps PETA’s rather misguided energy might be put to better use for a more pressing concern: I suggest they immediately shift their focus and name to People for the Ethical Treatment of Other People.

  • http://expatriateskitchen.blogspot.com Beth Bader

    Okay, try to avoid the f-word and the 4-letter c-word, deal? Wow!

    If I may step into the fray, it’s a bit of a generalization. See, I eat only pastured, grassfed, humane meats that are lower in fat and higher in nutrition. So, why would I pay more just as if I were eating the feedlot variety?

    Thus, I think it is a rather inflammatory generalization on PETA’s behalf. Further, if a vegan diet requires supplements that are expensive, why should this be covered on a flex plan, etc. It’s a cost omnivore’s don’t incur. See, the logic is flawed from both sides with a few glaring loopholes.

  • Dolek

    Good first step but the problem goes deeper than this. Meat eaters and milk drinkers are a larger per capita cause of global warming than vegans are. So meat eaters do not just harm and kill animals, then also negatively affect our environment more than other yet aren’t prepared to bear their fair share of the burden for repairing it. The only fair solution would be a 40+ % meat tax – now!

  • http://www.vegetarianssuck.com YoMamma

    Just imagine how many people will insist they are vegetarians when it comes time to renewing their insurance!

    Here’s a good reason why vegetarians should have higher insurance rates!!!

    http://www.asylum.com/2008/09/15/a-vegertarian-diet-shrinks-the-brain/

  • K von M

    “Given the latest news about the effects of E.coli on meat-eaters — and the mountain of evidence linking meat consumption to some of our nation’s deadliest diseases —”

    There is also a mountain of evidence showing incontroverisble proof that 100% of all cancer sufferers have, throughout their lives, breathed a combination of nitrogen and oxygen, and have on several instances exposed themselves to dihydrogen monoxide, a known solvent that is deadly when inhaled.

    If I recall correctly, there were recently news stories about vegan children dying of malnutrition because their parents fed them soy milk. How’s that for great insurance statistics?

  • Carla

    I was very unhealthy on a vegan diet. It was actually a raw vegan diet because I cannot get gluten, soy, most other grains, sugar, corn and other substances vegans love so much. Between the heart palpations, very painful and heavy periods, hair loss and more, fatigue, I had to give that up. Bring on the pastured eggs, wild fish and grass fed meat!

    Balance is key.

  • Edwardo

    I think PETA just means let me get some Meat with my vegetables. Good ol meat is amazing and I say he veggie lovers eat a steak you’ll feel better.

  • Eric

    well PETA, maybe this will change your mind…

    http://www.asylum.com/2008/09/15/a-vegertarian-diet-shrinks-the-brain/

  • http://digg.com John

    I have to agree with PETA. Now I could give a crap less about the animals. I used to be a vivid meat eater. 200 grams of protein a day for 7+ years. Roast every Sunday as a kid, my Dad said meat is an important part of the diet.
    My mom had osteoporosis and reversed it by removing all animal products from her diet. Her doctors were floored. She tried to convince me to do the same. I thought she had gone insane. My dad passed away from cancer, my grandfather, and now my aunt has it. Not good for me. In a graduate class I was required to read a book that changed my life: The China Study.

    I stopped eating meat. And I have been healthier, I don’t get sick near as much. My allergies are better, and I have not lost muscle mass. I have actually gained mass (amateur weightlifter). Ask me to stop eating meat 5 years ago and I would have called you crazy. Now, I am a believer of its health benefits.

  • BigCR

    I got a better idea, how bout we send all PETA members to guantanamo bay with the rest of the people who think blowing shit up for a “cause” is a good idea? Bunch of cult terrorist freaks.

  • bob

    All they are trying to do it get attention. It is easy to forget that they even exist so they have to stir the pot every once in a while. Must be hard to be so lame day in and day out. HMMMMMM Meat!!!

  • Jess

    Dank Jemo… well put! Respect my beliefs and I will respect yours. PETA lost it a long time ago. Animal Rights activists groups are considered to be the #1 domestic terrorist threat in America, and you wonder why with ideas like that!

    I’m off to eat some really red, moooing deli meat… no time for love Dr. Jones!

  • http://nosite lionel

    Human beings are omnivores, full stop.

    We have to eat both meat and vegetables, in order not to stay healthy (that’s “merely” a consequence), but because it’s WHAT WE ARE.

    Now, if somebody manages to cultivate meat in a lab (I’ve heard that has already been done), and meat that tastes like real meat and has all the characteristics of real meat, I will gladly support the abolition of animal farms, slaughterhouses, or any other places were animals are cultivated for food!

  • ifkaaaaa

    I agree with Fran:
    “This is silly. If PETA didn’t have an agenda, why aren’t they asking for LOWER rates for vegetarians instead of higher rates for meat eaters?”

  • Mattybob

    I would guess that most vegetarians take care in what they consume by sheer virtue of their beliefs. I would imagine that the majority do not gorge themselves on fast food or chocolate etc. and instead opt for a balanced diet.

    The “non-vegetarians”, the rest of us (myself included), are not necessarily as careful. Some will go for a balanced diet (including meat) and some will go for fast food, ready meals and so on.

    I would bet all my money on a varied balanced diet being key to good health, and not a “no-meat” diet specifically.

    The media uses dodgy health “trials” and “studies” all the time to sell papers. Maybe, just maybe, PETA do the same?

  • http://foodbubbles.wordpress.com/ Colleen

    Many of the negative comments here help to affirm my suspicion that PETA is in fact an organization secretly funded by the meat and diary industries of America. I say to PETA, well-done. Your antics are an effective way of getting people to defend meat and increase its consumption.

  • ikeman

    I’ve known many healthy vegans, but I’ve also known many vegan and vegatarians who looked like religious cult members with lack of any muscle tone and lack of skin pigmentations.

    I’ve also known many high protein meat eaters who look horrible and others who put vegans to shame physically and mentally.

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