London, Dec 22 (UNI) Smokers, drinkers and the overweight are being offered huge amounts as pension as they are likely to die younger, it has emerged.
Those with healthy lifestyles received squeezed payouts as they were expected to live and claim for longer.
The ''enhanced annuities'' for the less fit are an incentive to be unhealthy, Daily Mail quoted inside sources as saying.
Insurers adjusted benefits in such a way that those in poorer areas get higher payments because they die earlier.
The new health-related pensions would help those spurning medical advice, while discriminating against the middle classes who tend to be fitter than those on low incomes.
Though, unhealthy would get more preferences, a higher pension would mean that they would die soon, Tom McPhail, a pensions expert at the Hargreaves Lansdowne financial consultancy, said.
The higher pensions for the unfit have developed from pensions originally devised in the 1990s for people with serious illnesses.
Increasing competition resulted in insurance companies scrambling to offer better benefits, especially to the unhealthy who, by dying early, will cost them less.
As many as 1,500 different medical and lifestyle factors, including obesity, raised cholesterol and high blood pressure are taken into account by the firms offering pensions.
The new lifestyle-based pensions go against Government efforts to persuade people to exercise more and follow a healthy diet.