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Obama-Care To Cost Smokers $5K More A Year

From an amused Associated Press:

Penalty could keep smokers out of health overhaul

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR | January 24, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.

Funny how little details like this weren’t ‘teased out’ before the elections. Or before the Supreme Court’s decision. Or even before Obama-Care was rammed through Congress in the dead of night.

The Affordable Care Act — "Obamacare" to its detractors — 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.

What’s an extra $5,100 a year? They can just eat a cheaper can of cat food. And that’s what they get for smoking, anyway.

Younger smokers could be charged lower penalties under rules proposed last fall by the Obama administration. But older smokers could face a heavy hit on their household budgets at a time in life when smoking-related illnesses tend to emerge.

So this discriminates against older people.

Workers covered on the job would be able to avoid tobacco penalties by joining smoking cessation programs, because employer plans operate under different rules. But experts say that option is not guaranteed to smokers trying to purchase coverage individually.

So this discriminate against the self-employed and the unemployed and those on disability.

Nearly one of every five U.S. adults smokes. That share is higher among lower-income people, who also are more likely to work in jobs that don’t come with health insurance and would therefore depend on the new federal health care law…

So this also discriminates against the working poor.

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…

Don’t worry. It’s only a matter of time before they are able to charge for more for those other things, as well.

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…

Why can’t smoking be considered a disease? Like alcoholism and drug addiction is?

Several provisions in the federal health care law work together to leave older smokers with a bleak set of financial options, said Pollitz, formerly deputy director of the Office of Consumer Support in the federal Health and Human Services Department.

First, the law allows insurers to charge older adults up to three times as much as their youngest customers.

Second, the law allows insurers to levy the full 50 percent penalty on older smokers while charging less to younger ones.

And finally, government tax credits that will be available to help pay premiums cannot be used to offset the cost of penalties for smokers.

Well, who really cares if smokers can’t afford health insurance? The sooner they die, the sooner the country will be rid of the scourge of cigarette smoke.

But don’t worry, this smoking penalty is just the tip of the iceberg. Obama-Care is going to force us to become better people in ways we have never even imagined.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Friday, January 25th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Obama-Care To Cost Smokers $5K More A Year”

  1. This is even more racist than Bloomberg’s big soda ban. Where is the ACLU?

  2. USSFreedom

    This portion and many others must have been overlooked, due to not reading it before passing it, in order to to find out what was in it and now that we know most of what’s in it, most of us… STILL DON”T WANT IT.
    But, again, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE NOW?

  3. USSFreedom

    This portion and many others must have been overlooked, due to not reading it before passing it, in order to find out what was in it and now that we know most of what’s in it, most of us… STILL DON”T WANT IT.
    But, again, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE NOW?

  4. canary

    Obama Care to cost double for cigarette smokers, but not for beer drinkers he entices and caters to with his recipe on the white house site.

    I wonder what Washington and Colorado think of this.


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