Starting in January 2014, health insurance providers will be authorized by the Affordable Care Act to charge smokers up to $5100 extra annually for their policies, nearly $100 each week. In order to avoid the penalizing cost, smokers will need to verify that they're attending a smoker cessation program. The definition of a "smoker" is not in the legislation, with no specified difference between those that smoke a cigar once a week or those that smoke 3 packs of Marlboros a day. The Associated Press writes:
The Affordable Care Act — “Obamacare” to its detractors — allows health insurers to charge smokers buying individual policies up to 50 percent higher premiums starting Jan. 1, 2014.
For a 55-year-old smoker, the penalty could reach nearly $4,250 annually. 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 in the fall by the Obama administration. Older smokers, though, could face a heavy hit on their household budgets at a time in life when smoking-related illnesses tend to emerge.
Workers covered on the job would be able to avoid tobacco penalties by joining smoking-cessation programs because employers' plans operate under different rules. But experts say that option is not guaranteed to smokers trying to purchase coverage individually.Read more: http://triblive.com/usworld/nation/3358387-74/health-smokers-law#ixzz2Kca0QE2q