Whether a person gets price quotes from or they get insured through an employer sponsored plan, they could pay a higher premium if they smoke. The ACA (Affordable Care Act) allows only four reasons for premium increases: family size, location, age and the use of tobacco. The insurance penalty depends on where the person works and lives; for individual plans, the ACA allows insurers to charge smokers up to 50% more than they charge nonsmokers.
However, states can eliminate or reduce the surcharge through their own rules, and ten states have already done so. The surcharge applies to all forms of tobacco usage, including cigars, cigarettes, pipes and chewing tobacco, and “usage” is defined as using a tobacco product at least four times a week for the past six months.
Is it Fair for Smokers to Pay More for Health Insurance?
Insurers believe that it is fair to charge smokers more each month. According to the CDC, smoking is America’s number-one preventable cause of disease. If everyone’s monthly premiums were the same, nonsmoking adults would have to pay for the habits of smokers. By some insurers’ logic, raising premiums for smokers is an incentive to quit.
Opponents of the practice, however, say that it can make Health Insurance in Elyria OH unaffordable for low-income individuals. A high number of smokers are from minority groups and from low-income areas, according to the ACS.
Smokers Can Pay More for Group Insurance
If a person gets coverage at work and they smoke, they can expect to pay more for health insurance. An increasing number of companies apply surcharges to smokers’ insurance policies, and government regulations allow employers to charge smokers up to 50% of the cost of benefits.
Choices for Tobacco Users
Before an employer can impose a surcharge, they must give the worker a chance to qualify for the lower rate by giving them a way to quit smoking. In most instances, employees can qualify by taking part in smoking cessation classes or wellness programs.
Federal regulations and the ACA don’t say what companies may do if a person is dishonest about their tobacco use, or if they start and stop smoking during the year after the premium is set. That’s why it’s always best to be honest when filling out applications for Health Insurance in Elyria OH. You can also visit them on Facebook for more information.