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Imagine receiving the following from your auto insurance company: "Good news! We've tripled your rates. However, we've drastically reduced them for those who drive recklessly or drunk or who regularly cause accidents. From now on, they'll pay the exact same amount you do. Welcome to the brave, new, socialistically correct world here at X-Y-Z Mutual."

I'm just guessing, but I'd bet most people with halfway-decent driving records would find new insurance carriers within a day of receiving such a notice.Amazingly, the same ridiculous structure is the standard operating philosophy upon which the largest insurance industry in our society is based. I'm referring, of course, to health or medical insurance.

Most health plans work like this. If you exercise regularly, reduce fat consumption and don't smoke, you pay the same as everyone else to pay the claims of those who don't.

I congratulate the Deseret News for its May 4 editorial that criticized the current system and encouraged better options for those who keep themselves well through healthy lifestyle choices. Making everyone accountable for their own wellness will have the same positive impact on health as the threat of paying more for car insurance has on making us more cautious behind the wheel.

Ironically, I spent the previous year trying to convince the Deseret News' own insurance carrier, Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators, of the soundness of this concept.

My proposal was considered at the highest level of the company but, in the end, was deemed "overly intrusive into the lives of people." In fairness, DMBA is not the only Utah insurer I've approached that's having a difficult time changing old ways of thinking.

Jim Catano

Salt Lake City