Health Care Reform penalizes smokers

smoker skull

A little-known provision in the Health Care Reform law passed in 2010 is that it can penalize smokers — by a LOT.

Beginning in January 2014, for a 60-year-old smoker, the surcharge could be up to $6,000 a year. That surcharge gets bigger and bigger for older smokers. Ouch. Boy, that’s incentive to quit, especially tacking on the other $2,000 a one-pack-a-day smoker spends just on the cigarettes. Especially considering that the majority of smokers now are low-income.

Now the plan does allow smokers to avoid the surcharge if they agree to join a smoking cessation program; however, that option is not necessarily guaranteed to people attempting to buy individual insurance, according to this article quoted here.

Is this fair? $6,000 is a lot of money. I’m sure it drives the smokers nuts that the law specifically says surcharges for people being overweight are not allowed.  I can tell you many insurance companies already charge higher premiums to smokers (ours does, in fact), for a very simple reason. Smokers cost them more money. They get more diseases at a younger age than nonsmokers and cost more to insure and end up raising everyone’s rates as a result.

Here’s a quote from this article about it:

Here’s how the math would work:

Take a hypothetical 60-year-old smoker making $35,000 a year. Estimated premiums for coverage in the new private health insurance markets under Obama’s law would total $10,172. That person would be eligible for a tax credit that brings the cost down to $3,325.

But the smoking penalty could add $5,086 to the cost. And since federal tax credits can’t be used to offset the penalty, the smoker’s total cost for health insurance would be $8,411, or 24 percent of income. That’s considered unaffordable under the federal law. The numbers were estimated using the online Kaiser Health Reform Subsidy Calculator.

Like I said, it seems as if a balance could be found. Put more emphasis on smoking cessation programs, make sure they are available to everyone.

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2 Responses to Health Care Reform penalizes smokers

  1. Mishima/South Florida Woman/crazy-ass stalker idiot says:

    That is wonderful news! Please keep it coming.

    • Pepe Lepew says:

      OK, this is how this is going to work, Jim.

      Tanzanite has obviously given you personal information.

      You have been ignored by us for several months. YOU keep coming back at US repeatedly. We don’t give a damn about you, and want nothing to do with you.

      You have chosen to escalate this to another level.

      Current is no longer around. Let it go. Move on.

      Here’s the deal. You have provided us with your ISP information. If you ever contact us or anyone we know again, your Internet Service Provider will be immediately contacted with your ISP address, name, physical address, etc. and we will file a report for stalking and harassment. We have plenty of evidence of stalking, foul-mouthed abuse and harassment both from Jackhole’s blog and from Alternet. This is not open to discussion. Don’t pull another stunt like that again. We have gone through this previously, frankly with people who were a lot smarter than you, so we know how to respond.

      In addition, since you have also used a U.S. military APO ISP to harass, the Military Police will also be contacted in Japan about your abuse of a military ISP to harass people online. Again, the evidence is on Jack’s blog.

      Got it? Not cool. I won’t be debating this with you and this is the only communication from me you will get. As of now, you’re blocked from this site. This is a no-troll zone.

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