Health Care Reform for Smokers

smokers_life_insurance_quotesAre delays become the norm for health care reform?

A glitch in the health care reform law might be giving smokers a break from tobacco-use penalties which would cause their premiums to become too expensive.

The Obama administration has informed health insurers that there is a problem in the computer system  that will limit the penalties the insurers can charge smokers, and it will take at least a year to fix the issue. This does not impact the opening of marketplaces on October 1 though.

Before the glitch, it would have been possible to charge a 65 year-old smoker more than three times the premium of a 21 year-old smoker, but now if an insurer tries to charge more, the submission will be rejected by the system.

While the health care reform law requires insurance companies to accept all applicants regardless of pre-existing conditions, it does allow them to charge smokers up to 50% higher premiums as a way to ward off bad risks.

Are you wondering what that means for older smokers? For example, let’s say the premium for a standard silver insurance plan was $9,000 per year for a 64 year-old non-smoker. For a smoker of the same age, the premium could be $13,600, and the smoker could not use any available tax credits to help pay the premium and offset the smoking penalty.

What do you think about penalizing smokers in health care reform?

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