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How Obamacare Premiums Penalize Smokers
Written by Lindsey Watson
Last updated on August 21, 2013 @ 7:14PM
Created on August 21, 2013 @ 6:26PM

If you smoke it could now cause your health care premiums to sky rocket, all of this is due to a controversial clause in the affordable care act.

Under that controversial clause insurers will now be able to penalize smokers by continuing to charge higher health care but the law widely known as “Obamacare” also aims to discourage tobacco use which the nation's largest preventable health hazard, killing about 500,000 people yearly.

So the big question is, how do you fight against tobacco use without discriminating against smokers?

Well, the ACA is attempting to balance out the law by allowing insurers to continue their practice of charging tobacco users a so-called "smoker surcharge," but limiting it to 50% above the rates they charge customers who don't use tobacco beginning in 2014.

Critics of the law say these premiums will fall more on the people who can least afford it. But local health officials see it as another attempt to get people to pay more attention to their health.

"The real intent behind the legislation is not to penalize smokers, or to make it a barrier to get health care coverage if you're a smoker. The intent is to really incentive, and drive smokers toward smoking cessation." said Dr. Mark Povroznik, Quality Care Officer at the United Hospital Center

As of now, thanks to a glitch in the health insurance reform, the threat of these steep premiums isn't quite there yet. Insurers report only seeing about an average 15% surcharge on premiums for tobacco users.


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Comments (2)
Aug 22, 2013 at 9:57 AM
And of course all these stupid politicians won't have a 'penalty' for their smoking or drinking habits. They EXEMPT themselves from their own bad laws they don't like!!!! And THAT is illegal constitutionally. Under our laws....govt officials cannot pass laws that exclude themselves. But hey, the Obama administration has not been abiding by laws since Obama took office.
Aug 21, 2013 at 8:32 PM
Anything the govt is in charge of you might as well figure your SCREWED!!
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