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Smokers Could be Priced Out of Health Insurance by Obamacare

Obamacare could cause insurance issues for smokers
(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A little-known provision in the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) will allow insurance companies to charge premiums that are up to 50 percent higher for those who smoke.

Starting next Jan. 1, smokers buying individual policies could face huge penalties.


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.

Insurers won’t be allowed to charge more under the overhaul for people who are overweight, or have a health condition like a bad back or a heart that skips beats — but they can charge more if a person smokes.

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. Although the law prohibits insurance companies from turning away the sick, the penalties for smokers could have the same effect in many cases, keeping out potentially costly patients.

A variety of provisions in Obamacare will not only make it much harder for older smokers to get insurance, and the end result of these options could mean middle-aged or older  low-income smokers could be left with NO insurance options whatsoever.

While many agree smoking is not healthy, it is NOT the government’s job to coerce people into stopping, or to use health care and politics to shove people into a corner where they have few or no options.

It appears almost daily we see more and more surprises coming from Obamacare.

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