Smokers Officially Become Second-Class Citizens January 25, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
As we continue to find out what’s in the Affordable Care Act, it continues to deliver little surprises. But there aren’t any surprises concerning its overall effect – as we all had predicted before it was passed, it won’t “bend the cost curve” and it will increase insurance costs and/or degrade health care for the majority of those who are already insured.
With the President’s promise of “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” still ringing in our ears, today we discover that the 20% of adult Americans who smoke are going to take it in the shorts:
Millions of smokers could be priced out of health insurance because of tobacco penalties in President Barack Obama’s health care law, according to experts who are just now teasing out the potential impact of a little-noted provision in the massive legislation.
The Affordable Care Act allows health insurers to charge smokers buying individual policies up to 50 percent higher premiums starting next Jan. 1.
For a 55-year-old smoker, the penalty could reach nearly $4,250 a year. A 60-year-old could wind up paying nearly $5,100 on top of premiums.
But wait, maybe it’s not so bad:
Starting next Jan. 1, the federal health care law will make it possible for people who can’t get coverage now to buy private policies, providing tax credits to keep the premiums affordable.
All right, smokers may not be as screwed as I thought
…government tax credits that will be available to help pay premiums cannot be used to offset the cost of penalties for smokers.
Nope. They’re screwed.