Will Obamacare force more smokers to quit?
The Affordable Care Act will impose large insurance surcharges on tobacco users. But people in smoking-cessation programs will get a break.
Obamacare bans higher premiums or the denial of health coverage because of pre-existing conditions. But one group will still find themselves penalized: smokers.
The new measures in the Affordable Care Act, which goes into effect next January, would allow health insurance companies to charge tobacco users up to 50% more for individual policies. And the costs of that rate hike would come entirely out of smokers’ pockets.
A recent Associated Press report notes those surcharges, nearly $4,250 a year on top of premiums for a 55-year-old smoker and close to $5,100 for a 60-year-old, could impose a heavy financial burden on individuals with a tobacco habit "at a time in life when smoking-related illnesses tend to emerge."
The ACA penalties could give added incentive to companies looking to sidestep smokers as potential employees.
Smoker protection laws already exist in 29 states and the District of Columbia, but that might be changing. Oklahoma, for example, is considering a bill that would repeal those laws. "These are the kinds of protections you’d think we have for race and gender, not smokers," State Sen. David Holt told KFOR-TV. "Just as a smoker has made a choice, employers ought to be able to make choices too."
Nearly 20% of people in the United States smoke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says smoking also kills more than 440,000 people in the U.S. annually while costing the economy more than $193 billion each year in lost productivity and health care expenditures. And it says secondhand smoke costs -- from healthcare expenditures as well as illness and premature death -- amount to another $10 billion.
Analysts say those statistics, along with the ACA penalties, are causing the insurance industry to look even closer at smokers.
"If you are an insurer and there is a group of smokers you don't want in your pool, the ones you really don't want are the ones who have been smoking for 20 or 30 years," Karen Pollitz, insurance market expert with the Kaiser Family Foundation, told AP. "You would have the flexibility to discourage them."
But there is optimism the ACA measures could also help more smokers kick the habit. The CDC says more than two-thirds of all smokers want to quit completely. And the American Lung Association notes all new private insurance plans under the ACA must cover treatments to help smokers quit smoking.
And as the Washington Post’s Wonkblog points out,, ACA wouldn’t allow insurers to apply the full penalty against a smoker enrolled in a quit-smoking program.
"We don't want to create barriers for people to get health care coverage," California state Assemblyman Richard Pan told AP. "We want people who are smoking to get smoking cessation treatment.”
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Come on people...we all know we shouldn't smoke smoking yet some people choose to. Dumb choice....I know, I smoked and quit 20 yrs ago. Smokers should pay more if they don't people who don't smoke will pay for it. I don't wanna pay for someone who knowingly makes a choice to poisin their body with tobacco.
I think there should be a cut-off year though. The older generation who wasn't aware of the tconsequences, elderly people, should be exempt.
But these young people who start smoking in their teens and twentys hell yeah. It's stupid where in the world are 15 yr olds getting $5.00 for a pack of cigarettes. I mean seriously people why start smoking with so much information about the harmful effects.
You know it's bad for you....don't start iit's your choice so you PAY the consequences.
Society needs to make people be held responsible for their own actions and stop making excuses for them and make innocent people pay for their retarded stupid immature choices.
Same thing with obese people...unless it's a hormonal genetic defect.
You sat there and gorged on soda, pizza, big macs and worked it off by clicking your remote to change channels What in the world gives you the right to think I wanna pay for you. I have absolutely no sympathy for you. I see you shop in the grocery store nothing healthy in your cart.and you feed your little chubby kids the same junk...that's child abuse and Im not rewarding it by paying for your health-care....it's called health-care so care for your own health.
People wanna be NICE and not hurt feelings.....gimme a break people. There's too much information and support to be young smokers and obese it's disgusting and they should be ashamed of themselves.
So apparently with Obamacare they can't exclude you for a prexisting condition but they can sure as heck foster you, and others by example, to not have a prexisting condition by over charging you for having it; nicely played, I did not see that one coming, NOT!
The field of social medicine seeks to:
What about drinker?
I see discrimination................
Time to find a real good lawyer
Here's another one for you all to consider. I have a friend who was a college and a professional football player until a knee injury forced him into early retirement. Since, he's had both knees and one hip replaced. He has been in and out of the hospital for numerous broken bones and strains. I also work with another guy who has been in the hospital for multiple reasons, at least once a year, since I started working at the firm 6 years ago.
At what point does Obamacare decide that you've over extended your coverage, that you're now a part of the problem of excessive costs to the system. Is there to be a higher premium for these individuals as well, and once there's a set threshold, can it be changed, lowered to include more individuals as costs increase.
Obama is only Obama, but a good cigar is a smoke.
With apologies to Rudyard Kipling.
If this passes, then I will personally smack the cigarette out of anyone's mouth that isn't paying their own insurance. And then, we can go after the winos and any of the poor that are eating fast food.
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