Spirited stigma

Now that I’m off employer-provided health insurance I’ve had to apply for individual coverage. The application understandably asks if I consume alcohol. Weirdly, it also asks what kind of alcohol: beer, wine, or liquor. I don’t know how to answer that. How many people who drink limit themselves to just one category? Oddly enough, as I was completing the application I was experimenting with a cocktail made with spirits and beer; even at that very moment I couldn’t answer the question accurately.

A more interesting question is why they were asking that. The health benefits of moderate wine consumption are well known, but they appear to accrue equally from consuming beer and liquor, and the application specifically notes the equivalence among 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1 ounce of liquor. I suspect that the question might be a kind of profiling, reflecting an assumption that people who admit to predominately drinking liquor are more likely to have problems with excessive drinking. Statistically, this might be true, but it doesn’t apply in my case. So I answered beer on the form, given that I enjoy it about as often as I do harder spirits.

Is there some other reason for the question of which I’m unaware?

Comments

  1. Zhubin says:

    Nothing regarding the specific question, but generally they want to give you as many opportunities as possible to make representations and misrepresentations, so they have statements they can sift through to justify pulling your insurance when you put in a claim for long-term cancer treatment or what have you. If they could they’d ask you to describe your life history from birth up to signing the form.

  2. Charles says:

    Unrelated comment..

    Here’s someone with a “homerun” take on a Cato pub. I don’t think I know anyone at Cato, but do enjoy your blog (and Cato’s work) so thought I’d take a shot. Have a great day in VA.

    cb

    http://wedeclare.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/illegal-nannies/

  3. Jacob Grier says:

    Thanks for the link!

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