“Millions of smokers could be priced out of health insurance because of tobacco penalties in President Barack Obama’s health care law…”
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.
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.
I got there via the Isthmus forum, where Meade wrote:
Does that really make sense? Shouldn’t it be reversed? Charge higher penalties/taxes to younger smokers as they will potentially have more years to cost society in lost production and “free” health care.
Charge older retired or retiring smokers lower penalties/taxes, encourage them to keep smoking and die sooner. After all, at their age, the older smokers are no longer contributing. The sooner they die, the less they cost the rest of us.
What are the voluntary activities that create the greatest risks for costing the insurance pool money? Why pick on smokers alone? To get the variable premiums concept started, because we’re already into burdening smokers? By the way, “Among Americans, Smoking Decreases as Income Increases/Gradual pattern is consistent across eight earnings brackets.” The least well-off people are hit hardest! But — what the hell? — kick the smokers now, and later we can tweak the system and raise the premiums for people who…. well, who would you like to hurt/nudge? How about the fat? Weigh in every year and get your premiums adjusted accordingly, scientifically. Here‘s a BMI calculator. Maybe we should charge you $1,000 a year in added premiums for every point above the “normal” range.